Archive for the ‘ Female Dancers ’ Category

1905, February 10 – BIRTH OF CARMENCITA CALDERON

Dancer (Aquarius) – in 2005, at the age 100, she did her last public performance at the famous milonga La Baldosa with dance partner Jorge Dispari…her fans, many in tears, were ecstatic; just two months later she would pass away feeling fulfilled and content in her life…poet Jose Gabello was to say of her, “you are a girl without age…you are eternal like the tango that drives you”...Carmencita Calderon was born into a poor italian immigrant family in the neighborhood of Villa Urquiza in Buenos Aires…her mother would sing tango and dance by herself as she was doing the laundry and she began passing on this passion to her daughter when Carmencita when was thirteen years old …a tragedy soon befell the family when her mother died leaving behind young children; it fell upon Carmencita to fill the role of the caring and the upbringing of her younger siblings and although she loved to dance, girls in her station did not dare to dream…one day her two younger sisters expressed the wish to attend a neighborhood dance at the  club “Sin Rumbo” and so she went along as a chaperone…

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Renown dancer “Tarila”, happened to be present and someone suggested that Carmencita dance with him; she was terrified but finally accepted his invitation…the following day Tarila took her to meet the legendary El Cachafaz at the Bar Corrientes where he assiduously met a close group of friends including Carlos Gardel…El Cachafaz was so impressed with Carmencita’s dancing that from that day on, he made her his exclusive dance partner; they made their debut with the Pedro Maffia orchestra at the Teatro San Fernando to enthusiastic applause …their ten years long collaboration would take them many places…but in 1942 disaster struck;  at a performance at Mar De Plata, at the club “El Rancho Grande”, after having danced to the milonga “Don Juan“, El Cachafaz died suddenly of a massive heart attack…she would never forget the shock of suddenly seeing her dance partner’s body lying lifeless on the floor…with tremendous personal resolve, she continued….she would in time perform with the best dancers of the time El Tarila, El Cachafaz and El Negro Alfredo and Juan Carlos Copes…reflecting on her success she was to comment “I adorned the tango when I danced it; this was my secret”

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1929, February 5 – GARDEL SINGS AT PARIS OPERA HOUSE

“Who would have thought back then, sixteen years ago that one day I would be singing here” wrote Carlos Gardel to his friend and manager Jose Razzano referring to their boyhood when the thought of performing at the mythical Paris Opera House was only a wildly unattainable dream for boys from poor immigrant families…indeed to have been invited to sing at the Paris Opera House for the “Bal de Petit Lits Blanc”, the most important social event of the year, was to have conquered Paris and therefore the world…he became the darling of a decadent aristocracy and it is they  who would catapult him to international fame; it is they who would export tango into a world sensation…on this particular night the well liked President of the Republic Gaston Doumergue was especially thrilled and he sent down a note to Gardel, would he please re-sing “El Cerretero”; with deep respect Gardel bowed to the president and did, to the enthusiastic applause of his excellency…

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Ten days later he opened at the Casino in Cannes for the unbelievable sum of 4000 francs a night; a famous magazine “La Rampe” in the luxurious end of the year edition, ran a full color photo of him….telegrams were personally delivered to him, a service reserved for only the most important people…he relished his success in paris, “I am living better than a millionaire in paris, in the best district in a comfortable house” he would write in letters to friends; much of his fortune would be squandered in his horse gambling habit…..150 years earlier, other Gardels were conquering an earlier version of the Paris Opera, Maximilien and Pierre Gardel ballet dancers and choreographers…Maximilien became the dance instructor of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI…he died young from an infection resulting from a small toe injury sustained while dancing…his brother Pierre became a renown choreographer and ballet master for 35 years surviving a number of political upheavals including the French Revolution…on the day that Louis XVI was beheaded, the Paris Opera was performing Pierre’s “The Trial of Paris”…Gardel would meet his own premateur demise just six years later in a fiery airplane crash .

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1929, January 30 – PREMIERE OF “PANDORA’S BOX”

“She was the most seductive, sexual image of woman ever permitted in celluloid…she is the only pure pleasure seeker I think I ever met” these were the comments of director Richard Leacock regarding actress Louis Brooks…she created a scandal dancing a tango with lesbian “Countess Augusta Geschweitz” in G. W.Pabst’s classic “Pandora’s Box”...Louise portrays “Lulu” a seductive, erotic, thoughtless young woman whose raw sexuality and uninhibited nature bring ruin to herself and those who love her…in this film she is the mistress of a well-respected newspaper publisher whom she marrys..she accidently kills him and is sentenced to five years in prison…she escapes with Alwa, her husband’s son but she is eventually sold to a brothel in Egypt…they eventually escape to London where they are living in squalor and where she prostitutes herself to make ends meet…she selects a client who is non other than Jack the Ripper… in the last scene, Alwa decides to leave her and is seen following a Salvation Army parade unawares of Lulu’s horrible fate up stairs…Jack the Ripper glances at him as he goes by

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In real life Louis Brooks was “Lulu”, living a libertine life of excessive drinking, opulent rich life style, reckless spending, sexual liberation and experimentation including a lesbian affair with Greta Garbo…at the age of nine she had been sexually abused by a neighbor which began her intense relationship to sexuality…in an interview she states “I was a terrible actress, in the film I was simply playing myself which is the hardest thing in the world to do”…her lovers included Charley Chaplain, CBS president William Paley and many others…by the age of 32 she was forgotten; she had had several opportunities to revive her career but she hated hollywood and told them to go to hell…alone and alcoholic, she took a job as a sales clerk in a New York department store where no one suspected she was the former beauty queen and screen myth…later she worked for a call girl agency catering to rich clientele…she never had any children describing herself, in typical  self deprecating humor as “Baren Brooks”

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1933, December 29 – PREMIERE OF “FLYING DOWN TO RIO”

For this film Vincent Youmans composed the tango “Orchids in the Moonlight” which would be a smash hit and another leap forward in the tango craze in the United States and consequently the world…it is sung by Raul Roulien and danced by Fred Astair with Dolores Del Rio who was considered the female Rodolofo Valentino…”Orchids in the Moonlight” would be subsequently recorded by many other artists including The Platters in 1960 and by the legendary mexican trio Los Panchos in English; Ricardo Montalban and Cyd Cherise were to do an unforgetable dance to it in the 1948 film “On An Island With You”…this was the first time that Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers had worked together…Interestingly, Fred had been reluctant to work with her; having danced with his sister for many years, he now dreamt of finally breaking away to a solo career…

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The film was originally conceived as a showcase for silent film beauty star Dolores Del Rio, instead the unexpected chemistry between Fred and Ginger usurped the headlines and buzz and created the greatest dancing couple in history; they were to make nine other films together…”Flying Down to Rio” , directed by Thorton Freeman,  follows the adventures of  Roger Bond a band leader and aviator who falls in love with the Brazilian beauty Belinda de Resende (Dolores Del Rio) even though she is already engaged to Julio played by Raul Roulien…Roulien was the first Brazilian actor to make it in Hollywood; in the later part of his career he successfully produced and directed a number of films…Vincent Youmans composed some successful broadway hits although his career was relatively short; like the legenday Eduardo Arolas, he finally passed away relatively young  from complications of TB and alcoholism

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1906, December 26 -BIRTH OF IMPERIO ARGENTINA

Singer (Capricorn) – Adolf Hitler was so enthralled with her that he had Joseph Goebbels request an audience with her; she came and he asked her to film the life of the exotic dancer Lola Montez…at German studios UFA she met Marlena Dietrich with whom, credible rumors said, she had a lesbian affair..but the night of “Kristalnacht” opened her eyes on Nazism and she left…nevertheless it was true that her political sympathies were with fascism; during the period of dictatorship she was one of “Franco’s Untouchables”; for a time she was boycotted in New York, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires…she was born in the neighborhood of San Telmo, Buenos Aires to a guitarist English father and an actress mother from Spain…when she was six years old she debuted as “Petit Imperio” at the Comedia Theater in Buenos Aires…Now back in Spain, she debuted at Madrid’s Romea Theater in 1924…when she was only 21 years she auditioned for Spanish Director Florian Rey who was so taken by her that he not only offered her the lead role in the film “La Hermana San Suplicio”, he also insisted that she sing in it even though it was a silent film; it was an immediate hit….

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Seven years later Rey would divorce his wife and marry Imperio; together they would produce Spain’s most successful films in the pre-civil war era…the marriage however, lasted only briefly and she then married the Count of Cabezuelas Ramon Baillio in a storybook church ceremony but when she divorced him, she incurred the wrath of the catholic church…she starred alongside Carlos Gardel in two films “La Casa Es Seria” and“Melodia de Arrabal”; the later made her enormously popular in the United States; following an appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York, a star-struck, young Fidel Castro timidly approached her and presented her with a sketched portrait…in 1992 at the age of 82 years old and practically forgotten she made an appearance  at the World Exhibition in Sevilla Spain where she thrilled the audience and earned a standing ovation…at the age of 93, ill and bedridden, reflecting on her life she became solemn for a moment remembering the painful passing her two children while they were still young and then, suddenly, she her face lite up, she asked her granddaughter Teresa for her castanets and died singing

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1904, November 5 – BIRTH OF SOFIA BOZAN

With disarming frankness she would say – “Yes, I know that I sing off key…sometimes the music goes one way and I another but, what can I tell you that I sing it the way I feel it, from my heart”...inspite of it, or perhaps because of it, Sofia Bozan would come to typify the soul of Buenos Aires in a way which only Carlos Gardel could equal (she apparently had a different opinion for in an interview in August of 1929, she stated that while Carlos Gardel was admirable, it was really Azucena Maizani who was the true soul of tango)…she was its conscience and in the years in which tango had disappeared, old timers would pine nostalgically for the golden years of tango and invariably invoke the name of Sofia Bozan in their poems and literature…Carlos Hechin in his tango “Negra Bozan” would write, “beloved Sofia, soul of tango Argentino without equal, your noble soul is the expression of my city”..Sofia Bozan in “Cachada” (mockery) and “Lunfardo” (the peoples’ argot), would speak and dance as she sang to her legions of adoring fans and they would answer back perhaps shouting back some  affirmation or a challenge…they might interrupt her to request an encore to which, playfully reprimanding them, would comply with great delight…she became an early icon for women’s independance courageously saying things that were taboo for a woman of those times

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Sofia Bozan (Scorpio) was born in Balvanera neighborhood of Buenos Aires and by the age of 12 she was a professional dress maker…through the help of her famous cousiin Olinda Bozan she became a chorus girl in the Vittone Pomar Theater Company…she soon progressed to the renown Muini Alippi Theater Company where she discovered her talent and developed her act; she was only 14 years old at the time…she debuted as a singer with the tango “Canillita” through which she is credited with having created the sarcastic, funny tango genre which would be the hallmark of Tita Merello…she premiered the tango “Un Tropezon” with the Francisco Pracanico Orchestra; it would later be recorded by many musicians…she was, as well, an accomplished tango and milonga dancer; in fact in the film “Carnavales De Antano” she danced with the legendary El Cachafaz to the delight of both critics and fans…she would star in over 30 films including the celebrated “Luces De Buenos Aires” with Carlos Gardel and “El Patio De La Morocha”…at the age of 46 after a long and intensive career, she married Federico Hess and retired to finally devote herself to a family…however soon after, she was diagnosed with cancer which she battled valiantly but to which tragically she finally succumbed at the age of 53…she was once asked the indelicate question of her opinion of men and she responded, “if I was the kind of woman who would answer such a question, I would say ‘I am crazy about them’”

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1957, October 21 – PREMIERE OF “AND GOD CREATED WOMAN”

Like Rodolfo Valentino, dancing tango turned Brigitte Bardot into a sex symbol and a legendary star; albeit a stylized tango in a caribbean style rythm…the memorable scene, in the film “And God Created Woman” in 1956 in which she dances wildly in a bar frequented by prostitutes, titillated male audiences and became one of the most provocative scenes in cinematic history…Bardot’s explosive sexuality turned her into an international sex symbol…Bardot had an affair with co-starr Jean Louis Trintignant even though she was married director Roger Vadim….it was Vadim who discovered her and through personal and directorial influcence created the legend “Brigitte Bardot”; she would later divorce him…she was to say many years later, “he taught me to be free and as a result I left him for another man”…Bardot would have a continuous flow of lovers and several marriages…it was in her marriage to actor Jacques Charrier that she had her only child of whom she said, “I was not ready to be a mother”…he was raised by his father

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Vadim had seen her by chance in Elle Magazine where she appeared as a then 15 year old model and began to  purse her….her father strenuously objected at one point threatening Vadim with a gun…Bardot would later say that it was the trauma from this incident, that would be the cause of her sucide attempts including the one where she slashes her wrists and takes a copious number of sleeping pills…she grew up in an observant catholic home; her father was an engineer and her mother had studied dancing and encouraged these interests in the young Bardot…in her early years Bardo dreamed of being a ballet dancer…at the age of 40 Bardot appeared in Playboy in a nude layout…Bob Dylan would dedicate to her, the first song he ever composed….in later years, besides being know for her animal rights campaign, she made headlines with her comments against homeless people, homosexuals and moslem immigration and influence in her country…the French philosopher and writer Simone De Beauvoir called her a “Locomotive of women’s history…the most liberated woman in post war France”

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