2 3 Throwback Thursday and Hugh Laing | Ballet Webb

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday and Hugh Laing

Throwback Thursday and Hugh Laing

Born on June 6, 1911 in Barbados, the dark and handsome Hugh Skinnner who became Hugh Laing was known as a dramatic dancer who specialized in the ballets of Antony Tudor. He was also an actor, appearing in movies such as Brigadoon and The Immortal Hour.

He began his dance training when he moved to London to study art in 1931. His teachers included Marie Rambert, Margaret Craske and Olga Preobrajenska. He went on to join Rambert’s early Ballet Club in 1933, where he met Antony Tudor.

According to Jack Anderson who wrote his obituary, Hugh Laing “was never considered a great technician, yet his powers of characterization and his sense of theatrical timing were remarkable”. John Martin, writing for the New York Times in 1952 said: Mr. Laing’s ''high-tension temperament has the power of suffusing the simplest gesture with eloquence.''

Thus it is not surprising that he starred with both American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet, often performing roles created by Antony Tudor. Hugh Laing went with Tudor to New York in 1939 and danced in American Ballet Theatre’s first season. They soon made names for themselves.  He and Tudor remained collaborators until Tudor died in 1987.

Hugh Laing was married to ballerina Diana Adams from 1947-1953..

He died of cancer on May 10, 1988, at the age of 77. He will always be remembered as one of the finest dramatic dancers of the 20th century.
From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #121  
“Hugh Laing was known as a great dramatic dancer who specialized in Antony Tudor’s ballets.”

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