#TBT with ABT's Most Dapper Choreographer

May 17, 2017

In the May 1952 issue of Dance Magazine, we published excerpts from Agnes de Mille’s Dance to the Piper. Of Antony Tudor, she wrote, “I have said Antony’s humor was sardonic; it was occasionally diabolic. He also said just what he thought, always a shocking experience. But he retained the unqualified admiration of his pupils….He taught and composed for almost nothing, watched everything with remembering eyes and drank his tea quietly wrapped in his dreams of world ambition. He was a kind of hibernating carnivore.” Tudor left London in 1939 at the invitation of Lucia Chase to choreograph for what would become American Ballet Theatre. In ballets such as Jardin aux Lilas (Lilac Garden), Dark Elegies and Pillar of Fire, he exposed his characters’ psychological landscapes without being overtly dramatic.

Below are some of our favorite images of Tudor that we’ve found in the DM Archives. (Spoiler alert: We’ve yet to catch him not wearing at least part of a suit, unless he’s in costume.)

Photo courtesy DM Archives.

Yes, that is Antony Tudor underneath all that facial hair, in costume as Tybalt for his own production of Romeo and Juliet which premiered in 1943. Tudor famously was unable to finish choreographing the one-act ballet by the premiere date and it wasn’t until a performance four days after opening night that audiences saw the completed version.

Photo by Gary Wagner, Courtesy DM Archives.

This was snapped in late December 1954, when Lucia Chase officially contracted Antony Tudor to have four of his ballets—Romeo and Juliet, Judgment of Paris, Pillar of Fire and Gala Performance—re-staged for ABT’s 15th anniversary season. (Back then, ABT’s name was simply Ballet Theatre.)

Photo by Don Bradburn, Courtesy DM Archives.

Antony Tudor’s 1942 ballet Pillar of Fire was an early masterpiece in American Ballet Theatre’s repertory. It focused on three sisters and the havoc wreaked by their jealousy and frustrated desires. Here, he coaches former ABT principal Sallie Wilson in the role of Hagar, which she danced for the ballet’s revival.

Photo courtesy DM Archives.

Antony Tudor: dapper even after an international flight to Japan. Fun fact about this image: Our copy in the DM Archives has a handwritten note signed by Tudor on the back.

Photo courtesy DM Archives.

Echoing of Trumpets
was created by Antony Tudor in 1968 in memory of a Czechoslovakian village brutalized during World War II. Here, he coaches Gerd Anderson of the Royal Swedish Ballet.