Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Marina Franca(Salz) and "Les Ballets Russes"

From 1938 to 1940, my mother Marina Salz danced for "Les Ballets Russes De Monte Carlo" under the name Marina Franca. Most dancers at that time took on a stage name and my mother adopted the last name of her Italian relatives eventhough she was originally born in Amsterdam. She previously danced with Serge Lifar but was discovered by Leonid Massine who had taken many young ballerinas like her from ballet schools in Paris. When the Ballet Russe toured the U.S. in the late thirties they stopped in many small towns including Altoona, Pennsylvania which was not far from Bedford, Pennsylvania where my mother spent the last days of her life. The ballet "Gaite Parisienne" was one of the big highlights of the tour through America's towns and cities. Their tour revolutionized American Dance and won a new audience beyond the usual ballet crowd. After leaving the ballet, my mother went on to marry Sam Salz, my father, who was already a well known art dealer. She kept the books for their early business and lived in New York until the middle seventies. She was an invaluable help to my father and met some of the great artists and collectors during that time.

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