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Andreas Pavley



Co-director of the Pavley-Oukrainsky Ballet in Chicago, Andreas Pavley was born in India of a Russian father and Dutch mother. Educated by E. Cechetti and Clustine in St. Petersburg, Pavley was a thoroughly schooled dancer in the Russian Imperial Style. Yet he also took lessons with Jacques Dalcroze in Geneva. Pavlova secured both Pavley and Serge Oukrainsky as male dancers for her London troupe of 1915. In 1916, both toured the United States with Alma Voedisch. Eventually, the dancers jettisoned Voedisch, contracted with the Metropolitan Opera for special performances, and with the Chicago Opera Association for a season's residency. Their early repertoire had qualities of pastiche about it - a dance to Massenet's "Cleopatra," a Sword Dance, a Demon Dance to music by Anton Rubenstein. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the early programs was the relative lack of Russian music.

By the end of 1916 Pavley became a flashpoint in the cultural debate over masculine style, with some wondering whether his androdgyne grace was somehow perverse. Realizing that in America one had to be assertively public in one's contention, Pavley and Oukrainsky began publishing and writing a widely syndicated newspaper series on physical culture, beauty, and ballet in early 1917. In summer of 1918, the duo established a summer ballet school at South Haven, Michigan.

Pavley and Oukrainskey maintained their connection with the Chicago Opera for several years, and became a highlight of performances of Massenet's "Cleopatra," yet concurrently undertook tours of "Ballet Intime," stripped down minimalist productions lacking a dancing chorus. The partnership in Chicago lasted eight years, before Oukrainskey departed with his own troupe to tour South America. Pavley maintained some form of the ballet in operation until his suicide in 1931 when he leapt out of a 16th story hotel window in Chicago. David S. Shields/ALS