by Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal
Antony Tudor stands as one of the pillars of twentieth-century ballet choreography. An English born choreographer who found a home in the United States, Tudor gained renown as the most innovative choreographer of his day. He explored the inner contours of human emotion as he sculpted one-act short stories about ordinary men and women, for there would be no kings and queens, or even fairies in the ballets of Antony Tudor.
A modernist who used movement sparingly, the Tudor Ballets and their characters were mutually definitive and contextual. He directed his dancers to move with a sensitivity to character and to intention. The Tudor stories unfolded through the shape of a hand or a foot, or through the tilt of a hat, or the form of a skirt. Within seconds of the curtain rising on a Tudor ballet, the audience understood the backstory of each character.
Based on a series of interviews with the curators of the Tudor legacy: Sally Bliss, Trustee of the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust, and four of the Répétiteurs, the professionals tasked with restaging the Tudor ballets, this book discusses the legacy of Antony Tudor and the restaging of his ballets to preserve their unique qualities that make them Tudor ballets.
The author, Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal, is Director of the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance Program in the Performing Arts Department at Washington University in St. Louis. Before beginning her academic career, Christine performed for twenty years as a dancer with companies such as the American Ballet Theater (where she worked with Antony Tudor), the National Ballet, and the Cincinnati Ballet.