April 4th, 1908 - April 5th, 1987
Antony Tudor and Nana Gollner, Gala Performance – 1941
Though not an inexhaustible choreographer, British-born Antony Tudor had a great deal of insight into the frailties of the human psyche. He is hailed as the master of “psychological ballets”. In these performances, the characters' psychological states and deep emotional conflicts are convincingly conveyed through movement.
|Antony Tudor as The Great American Goof - 1940|
His reputation, however, rests chiefly on his dramatic psychological ballets, the bulk of which were composed in the United States. Antony was versatile choreographer. His ballets ranged from tragedies to satires to comedies. His ballets explored such themes as grief, jealousy, rejection, and frustration. While limiting himself to the classical technique, he sought to express states of emotional conflict, aspects of character and motivation by removing purely ornamental choreography.
Antony Tudor with Madame Marie Rambert in London
Before he began his dance studies, Antony had by this time acquired a job as a clark at the Smithfield Meat Market. Although his interest was clearly in music and dance, he could not afford to give up his job. Nineteen-year-old Antony approached Madame Rambert and asked for tuition in ballet. Not surprising, Rambert accepted Antony into her company almost immediately; due to the scarcity of male dancers in England. Although Antony was at a disadvantage due to the late start of his career Madame Rambert saw something special in this young man from “the other side of the tracks” and set about to advance his dance education by having him take lessons from her leading dancers. Thus began a ten year association that would launch the career of Antony Tudor.
|Antony Tudor's Dark Elegies|
Madame Rambert was impressed with Antony’s work ethic as he maintained a full-time job at the meat market while studying ballet every evening. Madame Rambert spoke of Antony as “tall and handsome with poetic eyes, someone with intelligence and a deep appreciation of the art of dance.” To pay for his lessons, Antony gradually took on extra work around the school, including teaching younger students (he became a certified teacher of dance in less than a year), playing piano, bookkeeping, working the technical aspects of performances such as lighting and set design, and even janitorial duties. In 1938 he founded his own company, the London Ballet, but left the following year to join the newly formed Ballet Theatre (later the American Ballet Theatre) in the United States as dancer and choreographer for 10 years.
|Antony Tudor with Chieko Kikuchi and Jennifer Masley after a performance of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty - 1961|
Antony made his professional debut dancing for the English Opera Company in 1929, using his annual two weeks of vacation for rehearsals. It was this performance that spurred his eventual name change, as William Cook did not exactly “spark the imagination.” Madame Rambert told him he would never be taken seriously as a performer or choreographer with the name William Cook. He chose Anthony Tudor, with the intentional intimation of royalty, figuring that as he was changing his name, he might as well take the name of the royal family.
|Antony Tudor in rehearsal for “Romeo and Juliet” with Fernando Bujones and Hilde Morales – 1976|
Most of his ballets dealt with psychological themes. He wasn't interested in ballets that were about princesses and fairies. His ballets were about people and their problems. He didn't use the classical vocabulary or the tricks that were so popular at the time.
|Antony Tudor in rehearsal with John Prinz|
Tudor evolved an interesting approach to his choreography. Although it probably would not have worked for others, it did for him. He set out with a concept for a ballet - a mood, a situation, or a story - and before he started rehearsals he would work out by himself the type of movement which expressed his ideas. After he established the framework, he would then create the steps that would bring it all together. Tudor believed that ballet was a fusion of movements, not a series of separate dances which could be performed independently. He was unexcelled at exploring the subtlest of emotional conflicts within the framework of classical ballet. Highly charged plot development and intensely natural character delineation marked the greatest of his works.
Antony Tudor in rehearsal with Kevin McKenzie
Tudor danced in several of his own ballets, especially those choreographed in England. Many artists rose to prominence in his works, most notably the ballerina Nora Kaye in his first American-made ballet, Pillar of Fire, and the dramatic danseur Hugh Laing. In 1974 Tudor was appointed associate director of the American Ballet Theatre and in 1977 was joined in that position by Kaye.
Antony Tudor in rehearsal for “Little Improvisations” with ABT - 1964
Antony Tudor died in New York City, a day after his 79th birthday. Does he deserve the praise ballet historians and dancer lavish upon him? Most definitely. Not only did he produce some of the most challenging choreography dancers have ever danced, this great man influenced the way choreographers create their work and changed the world of ballet.
So this is a work I did with Elegant Essay. I was tired of writing different introductions and conclusions about clocks, so I did this instead.
Love Sararose xox