Boris Volkoff 94

Added 25th Jun 2021 by Beth Dobson (Archives and Programming Assistant, DCD) / Last update 25th Jun 2021

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Boris Volkoff 94

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Newspaper article about Boris Volkoff's "Mon-Ka-Ta." "Recital Stars Indian Dance at Hart House." c. 1939.
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Amy Hull – June 29 Presentation
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Recital Stars Indian Dance At Hart House Number to be Presented at Berlin Olympic Cul minates First of Three Performances a The annual spring dance recital of the Boris Volkoff School , or rather the first of three performances of it , was staged last night in the Hart House Theatre . The program , which was pleasingly variegated , with clever decoration in the matter of costumes , came to a spectacular cul mination in an Indian number which Mr. Volkoff proposes to present at Berlin this summer when , at the Olympic , he directs a dance group representing Canada . There is certain appropriateness in the choice of a basic aboriginal theme , though it is entirely probable that in Berlin it will confirm the idea . that Canada is still the domain of flint and feathers . The piece as prepared by Mr. Volkoff seems to have a sound bas . ing on certain ceremonial dances once commonly practised by Ameri can aborigines ; for example , The Spirit - Calling of the Medicine Man . The Indian feeling , however , one would say from a superficial ac quaintance with Indian dance forms , was much stronger in the first two thirds of the choreography . In the last third the conventionalities of the dance theatre predominated save during fleeting moments . Mon - Ka - Ta ( from whom the num ber takes its name ) , mourning his dead wife , desires to follow her soul to the land of the departed , and invokes the aid of medicine man and wise women . His vigil ends when he sees his wife's soul rise from the grave . Despite her entreaties to desist , he follows his dead mate to the after - world . Presently he touches her - she becomes a log in his arms . COSTUMES EFFECTIVE Ronald McRae designed some very striking costumes for the piece and the effective masks in this and other numbers were by Mrs. Emmanuel Hahn . The musical background was excellent . Mr. Volkoff himself appeared in but one dance , a Caprice of Kreis ler - Delibes derivation , with the thought of Les Sylphides apparently uppermost in the choreographer's mind , as well as in the costume de signer's . The number was charm ingly done . Quite the loveliest of the solo num bers was Joan Hutchinson's exquis itely plastic Polka ( done to Strauss music ) , and the most completely en gaging , the duo presented by Jack Lemen , after he had completed a spectacular demonstration of tapping , and deft , flaxen - haired Nancy Anne Featherstone , who comes in a pocket sized edition , while Mr. Lemen is a young man of quite considerable height . The adroitness with which little Miss Nancy Anne followed the intricacies of her grown - up partner's stepping brought down the house . Diminutive Irma Dorfman , who danced last summer at a Varsity Sta dium prom . , did a clever solo , which , however , did not fully exhibit her capabilities . CHILDREN DO WELL The small - kitten antics of very tiny performers are invariably en chanting , and so it was last night in a number called simply " Babies . " In this and in a later children's num ber one very small girl stood out for the savoir faire and the unselfcon scious grace of her performance . A striking , rather heavily - moving Grotesque opened the program , which included amongst a number of other things a sprightly Neapolitan dance , done by some of the younger performers , a Scottish number with an accent not Scottish , a sparkling Norwegian divertissement , and Dutch . The reviewer agreed with the lady who thought there was " too much tap dancing . ” But what would you ? Tap ping seems epidemic among the young fry these days . Is there a dance recital at which the eardrums are not assaulted by the din of it upon the boards ? There was some creditable tapping last night besides that of Mr. Lemen and little Miss Featherstone . а