Hugh Laing


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(orig. Skinner; b Barbados, 6 Jun. 1911; d New York, 11 May 1988)

British dancer. He studied with Craske and Rambert in London and with Preobrajenska in Paris, joining London Ballet Club (later Ballet Rambert) in 1932. Although never a brilliant technician his personal magnetism and dramatic gifts made him one of the great dance actors of his generation and he created roles in many early Tudor ballets, such as Jardin aux lilas (1936) and Dark Elegies (1937), as well as dancing the title role in Nijinsky's L'Après-midi d'un faune (1936). During 1937 he danced in recitals with de Mille and in 1938 performed with (Tudor's) London Ballet in which he created roles in Judgment of Paris, Gala Performance, and Soirée musicale (all 1938). In 1939 he left with Tudor for the US where he was principal dancer with Ballet Theatre (later American Ballet Theatre) between 1940 and 1950 and created roles in Fokine's Bluebeard (1941), Massine's Aleko (1942), and de Mille's Tally Ho (1944), and several more Tudor ballets including Pillar of Fire (1942), Romeo and Juliet and Dim Lustre (both 1943), Undertow (1945), and Nimbus (1950). In 1950 he moved to New York City Ballet where he created several more roles in, for example, Tudor's Lady of the Camellias (1951) and Balanchine's Bayou (1952). He also danced in Balanchine's Tyl Ulenspiegel and Prodigal Son in which he was much acclaimed. Between 1954 and 1956 he again danced with ABT, and appeared in musicals in London and on Broadway. He retired from the stage to become a commercial photographer, also assisting Tudor in many restagings of his ballets. He was married to dancer Diana Adams between 1947 and 1953.

Subjects: Dance.

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