Antony Tudor coaching Nora Kaye and Hugh Laing in Romeo and Juliet ahead of American Ballet Theatre's spring 1956 season

Radford Bascome, Courtesy DM Archives

#FlashbackFriday: Nora Kaye Left Her First Rehearsal With Antony Tudor "Screaming"

On January 17, 1920, one of American ballet's most celebrated dance actresses was born. Nora Kaye's father was an actor who'd worked under Konstantin Stanislavski; her earliest ballet teacher was Ballets Russes choreographer Michel Fokine. ("He was more interested in creating roles than in teaching class," she recalled in the February 1965 issue of Dance Magazine.)


Brief stints with Balanchine's short-lived American Ballet, on Broadway and at Radio City prefaced her joining American Ballet Theatre's corps for its 1940 inaugural season. She caught the eye of Antony Tudor (despite leaving his first rehearsal "screaming that she would never work with that Englishman again," according to Tudor) and became an overnight sensation after leading the premiere of his psychological Pillar of Fire in 1942.

"Tudor changed my whole life—the way I moved and the way I thought," she said. "He told me what to think and what to read, even what to wear and what to eat. We were inseparable. Sometimes he could really make me feel miserable; he could almost be sadistic. Yet he could be wonderful, too." Their work came to define the "Theatre" part of ABT's name.

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Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

Cathy Marston Talks Literary Adaptations, Dream Projects and Dance Criticism

Prolific director-choreographer Cathy Marston has made story ballets chic again. Last year began with Marston poised to make a big splash in the U.S., with plans for new creations at The Joffrey Ballet (Of Mice and Men) and San Francisco Ballet (Mrs. Robinson, based on The Graduate), following up remounts at American Ballet Theatre and The Joffrey of her Jane Eyre. With both premieres delayed by the pandemic—even SFB's planned digital debut of Mrs. Robinson this month has been replaced by a webcast of her 2018 Snowblind—Marston continues to work remotely and even started a project-based company in partnership with choreographer Ihsan Rustem.

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February 2021