Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Tilly Losch : ' Schlagobers' Sweet Fragments From Her Life

Tilly Losch ‘Schlagobers’ Sweet Fragments From Her Life By William Cross, FSA Scot Ottilie Ethel Leopoldine Losch : Vienna c 1910 According to Dante, dancing is the real occupation of the inmates of Heaven. It was a dancing sort of morning that May day in Vienna, Austria, in 1910. On the cold, cobbled streets an ancient organ grinder with his hurdy-gurdy was playing a tune. Young Tilly Losch felt like dancing, so she danced, even although she was out in the street…. Tilly just loved dancing, especially pirouetting. Years later she told a reporter “ ( I ) did my first dance steps to a hurdy-gurdy playing outside my Vienna birthplace.” The little street dancer ( later described by Jean Cocteau as “ the greatest performing artist since Eleonora Duse” ) was (it is said) observed by Saharet, an American dancer, who was touring Europe. Saharet went to Tilly’s home with her and persuaded her mother, Eugenie Losch, to give her daughter dancing lessons. Her father Otto Emil Losch, did not know anything about it, and they were afraid to tell him. Tilly’s career was well under way before Herr Losch knew his daughter was on the highway to dancing fame. But sadly, he never lived long enough to see her greater glory and success. One chronicle records: “ In those years [ 1911-1919] [ Tilly’s] father was killed in an automobile accident, the War for Democracy was fought, the empire of Franz Josef was thrown to the wolves at Versailles, money in Vienna became useful and inexpensive for papering walls , Austria had a revolution… and Tilly Losch became one of the greatest dancers in the world.” Whether the above record and time frame are a faithful or true account or not, this was Tilly’s own memory of how she first came to be a dancer. She regaled the same tale in several interviews. However in one interview Tilly attributed more substance to her mother’s spark in her reasons for taking up dancing. “ My mother admired the Royal Opera House [ Vienna] very much…and she thought it would be a fine thing to see her daughter perform there some day. So she sent me to take lessons at the Imperial Ballet School. It is very difficult to get into this school. It requires very much ‘protection’ as we say. I do not know what that would be in English.” The reporter suggested glibly ‘Pull?’. Tilly vigorously agreed, remarking “ I think so, yes…. “ Dance histories record that Tilly was a player in a children’s ballet given at the Royal Opera House, Vienna. Alas, so great was her enthusiasm that at one performance she missed her footing on the stage and fell into the prompter’s corner. Tilly recalled this ghastly event years later “ I was dancing with a balloon in my hand…and between watching the balloon and gazing at the audience out there in the big opera house I didn’t look to see where I was going. So the first thing I knew I fell right down into the prompter’s box. “ After the accident, and, rescued from her stage fall, albeit in grief and tears, Tilly was ( by command) carried up to a box in the theatre occupied by an Austrian archduke and his duchess who patted the whimpering child and presented her with a box of chocolates from which they had been nibbling during the performance. Far from being overwhelmed at the royal favour Tilly examined the sweet box and when she found that some of the bonbons were missing, politely but firmly handed them back. The archduke’s party burst into roars of laughter and predicted a successful career for the businesslike little dancer who would take nothing second hand. Moreover Tilly had an uncompromising streak of ambition and a desire to make money. She admitted she broke away from the Vienna Royal Ballet because she wanted more money and because she wanted a chance to do her own choreography. She made her ambitions clear by once saying “ There are certain people who must find their own way..For instance, I have to go on groping in the dark to find my own little light even if no one else liked that light.” Another time Tilly remarked “ One’s eyes must be always open..and then one finds inspiration in all one sees.” Always self- disciplined, her training was intense from her very first ballet steps “I have danced since I was 7, and all these years have been drill- drill for ballet, drill for recitals. When I dance I am playing a part. I am the person I dance. ” FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK/ VISIT HERE http://tilly-losch-schlagobers.yolasite.com/

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