Archive for the ‘ Dancers ’ Category

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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1951, January 10 – PREMIERE, “CON LA MUSICA EN EL ALMA”

Francisco Canaro had the midas touch, he made money in everything he touched with one exception, film making…he was to say, “sound movies left me completely silent” “Con La Musica en El Alma” was his last film and it was in theory successful but not for Canaro, he had to sue his production partners to recoup his 400, 000 peso investment…not that he needed the money; he was undoubtably the richest man in tango history…a common saying to refer to some one of means was, “he is rich like Canaro”….after this attempt, he sold what was left of his Rio Plata Production Company…the film was based on the musical by the same name, written by Homero Manzi, which had been produced two years earlier…it was staged at the Teatro Casino and was headlined by legendary child actor Andres Poggio  ”Toscanito”,  and singer Alberto Arenas;

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It was also the early start of actor Alberto Dalbes who would have a long and fruitful career in Argentinean films…Francisco Canaro, as well as providing the music, also had a small role…the play had a highly successful six month run and was then moved to the Teatro Artigas in Montevideo, Canaro’s home town…the success of the play inspired Canaro to convert it into a film which premiered at the Normandie Theater…Toscanito and Alberto Arenas reappear in the film with the addition of beloved comedic dancer Tito Luisardo who appeared in over 40 films to the delight of his legion of fans…the film was directed by Spanish film director Luis Bayon Herrera who found success in Argentina and remained there for the rest of his life…several notable tangos were featured like “Mataderos”; “Boliche de barrio”; “Sentimiento Gaucho” and Canaro’s intriguing Tango Fantasia in F…when Canaro died of a strange and rare bone growth disorder his immense fortune was apportioned between his French wife and his daughters born of his affair with a young, seductive chorus  girl he had met through one of his musicals

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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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1913, November 17 – KAISER WILHELM BANS TANGO !

Then Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany forbade his officers to dance the tango while in uniform, describing the dance as “Rinnsteinkind”, (a child of the curbstone)…but tango was all the rage among the high classes especially in Germany…it was fashionable to throw elegant “Tango Tea Parties” but it began to incur the wrath of government and church leaders….Cardinal Amette in Paris declared that “Christians should not in good conscience take part in it.”…Pope Benedict XV complained “An outrageous, indecent, heathen dance, which is an assassination of family and social life”...Despite these bans the tango survived, particularly through the First World War, as people sought distractions from the horrors of war.

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Kaiser Wilhelm II had a withered left arm; the result of having been a breech baby and perhaps to compensate he was militaristic and a megalomaniac who was almost never out of military uniform …until relatively recently, historians believed that his ineptness as a statesman was the cause of World War I…The Kaiser’s severest royal critic was also Europe’s most respected royal, Queen Victoria…Eight years later he would have equally disdainful things to say about the premier of “The Four Horsemen and the Apocalypse” with Rodolfo Valentino…In a letter to her daughter, Wilhelm’s mother, the British queen described her least favorite grandson as “a hot-headed, conceited, and wrong-headed young man, devoid of all feelings…very unhealthy and unnatural state of mind.”

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npqVXIqdj8E to listen to “Micaela” a tango composed in the 1930s by Ludwig Schmidseder who trained as a banker to please his father but secretly took piano lessons…he found himself in Rio De Janeiro washing dishes but eventually formed a musical trio and went on to become a renown composer

1937, November 12 – BIRTH OF HECTOR MAYORAL

Dancer, Choreographer (Scorpio) – In 2009  fictionalized film of this man’s life and career it describes him as “the greatest dancer of all time”…he plays himself in the film, The Man Who Dances,  which is a collage of the different stages in his life…he grew up in a tough Villa Pueyrredon neighborhood and had to leave school early but his salvation was his love of dance….during the day he worked odd jobs but at night he would hang around the milongas where the old milongueros took him under their wing and showed him how to dance…in one of life’s turning moments, one evening at a milonga he struck by a shy girl standing alone and he asked her to dance..

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Elsa Maria Borquez was from the mythical neighborhood of La Boca who at the age of 8 had started studying ballet, music and art; she would become his life’s and career partner…their destiny would take them, as dancers in the award-winning “Tango Argentino” and “Forever Tango” all over the world….they have danced and taught people like Lady Di, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Robert Duvall, Frank Sinatra, Placido Domingo, Robert Deniro, Mijail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, Liza Minelli, Julio Iglesias, Whoopi Goldberg…As innovators, they have developed a new health alternative therapy, “Cardiorespiratory benefits during the tango dance”, together with professional scientists from the “Fundación Cardiológica Argentina”….Hector says“when you hear the beat of the tango and it travels through your ear annd into your heart, and it becomes your legs, you feel that you are telling the story of your barrio”

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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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