Archive for the ‘ATBT Staff’ Category

Tudor and Education: A Perfect Match

January 13, 2010 2 comments

by Sally Brayley Bliss

There is a small village on the east side of the Mississippi River in Illinois named Elsah. Not just beautiful and historical, it is also the home of Principia, a small liberal arts college for Christian Scientists. When I was Director of the Joffrey II Dancers 1969 thru 1986, on one of our many bus tours, we of course played St. Louis and we had many run outs. One time, thanks to our Iowa friend, John Fitzpatrick, we performed at Principia College. I will always remember my experience with the dynamic college in this quaint little town.

My point is that Principia has a dance program; a good one. The Dance Department Chair, Hilary Harper-Wilcoxen, happens to be a huge Tudor fan; not only that, but her mother studied with Tudor in New York many years ago. The ballet world is at once expansive and small. You just never know who you will meet and where.

After she introduced herself a year ago, I arranged for her program to learn and perform Little Improvisations. Amanda McKerrow was the ideal répétiteur to stage it for them. Amanda, Hilary, the entire dance program, production staff, filmmakers and I all pitched in. This residency became a huge event and a learning experience for all of us. Most importantly, the process pushed me into deep thought. Having worked by that time with many university and college dance departments, I realized Tudor’s choreography (not all, but some of his works) are perfect for university dance programs. His choreography is so understood by the students, who not only enjoy but are intellectually stimulated by the works of Tudor. Dance departments all over are growing and rapidly developing their abilities to undertake new challenges. I had the pleasure of working with Juilliard College, Duke, Stanford, and Washington Universities, while the Tudor Trust répétiteurs have worked with so many more. Hence, it led me to decide the time was right to develop a Tudor Syllabus that will enhance and enrich already strong programs like Principia, while opening opportunities for many others. I realize that this has never been done, but the challenge will be an exhilarating one. Tudor was always an educator and this fit is a natural one.

I have delegated a group of university dance faculty, led by répétiteurs James Jordan and Amanda McKerrow to develop a Tudor Syllabus. They will be working closely with Kristine Elliot, Lance Westergard, and the aforementioned Hilary Harper-Wilcoxen. I’m sure there will be more on board as we develop our plan and move ahead. Hilary will guide us as we lay the foundation for all that is necessary to create a university dance syllabus that will be approved by the system.

This is just the beginning. We have a lot of work to do and we need your help. The Trust is very interested in your best ideas for developing something very new and exciting. This is the future, not only for Tudor, but for all of dance.


Welcome to the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust Blog!

November 12, 2009 4 comments
Sally Brayley Bliss

Sally Brayley Bliss, Trustee, Antony Tudor Ballet Trust

Welcome to the ATBT website. Finally it is launched!

We are very pleased but do apologize for taking such a long time. This project was more work than one can imagine: choosing an overall design to best represent Tudor’s life’s work, conveying Tudor’s history from a fresh perspective; creating a synopsis for each of his 52 ballets, many which have never been put in writing before; tracking down archival photos; and, hardest of all, securing permission from the photographers and everyone involved. I think you all will be pleased and agree the website has been worth the wait.

We ask for suggestions from all of you, and please, tell us if you see any mistakes. We also invite the participation of guest bloggers who would like to share their insights on the past, present and future of Tudor’s work. We are open to all your suggestions.

We have had a steady flow of ballet companies from diverse parts of the world wanting to perform Tudor’s works and upcoming performances scheduled: from COCA, a Performing Arts School in ST. Louis, learning Little Improvisations; to The Australian Ballet presenting Gala Performance ; to The New Zealand School of Ballet dancing Continuo and Lilac Garden; to the Festival Ballet of Rhode Island doing Continuo, and the pas de deux(s) from the Leaves are Fading and Dark Elegies; and, Ballet San Jose dancing Lilac Garden and Continuo. See the complete list for this 20009/2010 season under the “News?”

We are working very hard on producing a Centennial Book of Remembrances from many Tudor dancers including another selection of great photos, both new and old. We are also in the process of editing a DVD saluting Tudor and the Centennial Celebration. We hope both will be ready in the New Year. This is all being accomplished by the Trust Staff: Tara McBride, Administrator; Adria Rolnik, Web Coordinator; Mark Bliss, Web, Centennial Book and DVD Editor; and, our wonderful Web Designer, William Soleau. Bravo to all of them.

In the future we will be creating a Tudor Syllabus for University Dance Programs. Many schools have done wonderful studies we will work from such as: Stanford University, directed by Kristine Elliot; Principia College, directed by Hilary Harper Wilkoxen; and The Juilliard School, directed by Larry Rhodes. Another very exciting and successful project we will draw from was with Tyler Walters at Duke University, reconstructing two sections of The Planets through an NEA grant for university dance programs .

As you can all see, we have a lot more to do and hope you will help.

Antony Tudor will also be on Facebook and Twitter. Please join us! Most importantly, we need all of you to spread the word. The Antony Tudor Ballet Trust is alive and well. Please tell everyone to join us at Thank you!!!

Until next time,

Sally Bliss

Trustee of the ATBT

Categories: ATBT Staff