Monday, September 30, 2013

Andreas Pavley -- Windy City Death Danseur

Photo:  Eugene Hutchinson
Pavley (real name Andreas Hendricus Theodorus van Dorp de Weyer) was born in Batavia, Java, on November 1, 1892, and raised in Amsterdam.  He received his first formal dance training from Emil Jacques-Dalcroze in Geneva, Switzerland, during 1909-1911, afterward traveling to Paris and London to study with Ivan Clustine and Enrico Cecchitti.  As "Andreas de Weyer," Pavley moved to London in 1912 and performed in a few ballets before being signed in early 1913 to dance in the company of Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova on her upcoming U.S. tour.  As Andreas Pavley, the dancer remained with Pavlova for three years until leaving after the 1916 tour to form a studio and ballet company with fellow dancer Serge Oukrainsky.  In 1919, the Pavley-Oukrainsky Company became associated with the prestigious Chicago Grand Opera.  The association elevated the performer-choreographer to national renown and paved the way for his company to tour on the Keith-Orpheum Circuit.

Despite his popularity, however, by June 1931 the dancer was deeply in debt and the target of a blackmailer who called himself "Edgar Walls."  In a note to the 36-year-old Pavley, the extortionist threatened a scandalous exposure (most likely the dancer's homosexuality) unless he was paid $100.  Unable or unwilling to meet the demand, Pavley broke out a window screen in his apartment on the 16th floor of the Hotel McCormick at 616 Rush Street in Chicago on June 26, 1931, and leaped to his death.

Recommended Reading:
Corey, Arthur.  Danse Macabre:  The Life and Death of Andreas Pavley.  Dallas:  Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University, 1977.

No comments:

Post a Comment