Dec. 4, 1945:
A small but enthusiastic crowd was on hand at Scranton’s Masonic Temple for a night of dance by the famed Ballet Russe.
Under the direction of choreographer Leonide Massine, the Ballet Russe featured dancers Bettina Rosay, Ivan Demidoff, Rosella Hightower, Jean Guelis, Anna Istomine, Helen Komarova and Yurek Lazovsky. Emil Kahn conducted the ballet’s 25-piece orchestra.
A reviewer from the Scranton Tribune described the highlights of the night as the comic piece “At the Dentist,” in which Komarova and Lazovsky used gymnastics to get into the spirit of the piece set to the music of Dmitri Shostakovitch. Also wowing the reviewer and the crowd were the troupe’s selections from “Swan Lake” and the pas de deux, “The Bluebird.”
Massine also joined his dancers in the performance of “The Barman,” playing the title role. The reviewer wrote that Massine “danced like one would dance, if he danced.”
The Tau Beta Sigma sorority organized the show to raise money for the Lackawanna County Russian Relief Committee, and it brought in $500. Willard Jones, committee chairman, said the funds would be used to buy artificial limbs for civilians who lost limbs during the German invasion of Russia in World War II.
The ballet troupe had previously performed in Scranton on March 19, 1941, as part of the Community Concert Series.
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast