Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Busy times, and sad times as a great spirit passes on, but not without leaving important traces...

It has been a busy couple of months, and now suddenly here we are in full of bloom of summer.  Midsummer approaches!  During the tenth edition of Dublin Dance Festival last month, I did reports on RTE Arena, and on The Arts Show (Aileen O'Meara Productions for RTE).  I gave a talk on the lovely topic of "Patrick Scott and the Ballets Jooss" at VISUAL Carlow (wonderful space).

Sadly now however, looking back to the St. Patrick's Day Special on Dance in Ireland on RTE's The History Show with Myles Dungan, featuring a conversation between Barbara O'Connor, Diarmaid Ferriter and myself interspersed with excerpts from my 2004 radio series "Nice Moves", and interviews I set up for the show with Ann Fryer/Walsh (on her time as a pupil of Erina Brady in the 1940s) - little did we know that the great Percy Lovegrove's upbeat and heartfelt contribution to the show on the joys of ballroom dancing in 1940s and 1950s Dublin would be his last public address.   Percy, author of An Auld Cockle Picker (for which I was honoured to contribute the foreword on his late wife, Abbey School of Ballet original Doreen Cuthbert in 2008), has sadly passed away at the age of 93.

Percy generously and enthusiastically shared part of his extraordinary life story with me in my 2011 BAI-funded radio documentary "Doreen - Telling the Dancer from the Dance", about the achievements of his late wife Doreen, and her first-hand reminiscences of WB Yeats, NInette de Valois, Lennox Robinson, et al, and their subsequent life in Kenya, broadcast on RTE Lyric FM.  You can listen back here:

I was extremely fortunate to get to know Percy and Doreen, to become their friend, to be regaled and entertained by their extraordinary life experiences, to have their encouragement and support, and to learn from their words of wisdom.  Undoubtedly, discovering and getting to know one-of-a-kind people like Doreen and Percy, is one of the perks of being a dance historian and documentary maker, that make the precarity of this freelance endeavour worthwhile.  I am grateful for all the inspiration Percy gave me which I will carry forward.  If I get anywhere near his 93 years, I'll be doing well.  Any of us will.  May the extraordinary auld cockle picker rest in peace. 
Percy chatting with Wendy in front of his book display at Sweny's


Unknown said...

So many stories to tell...! Another book, maybe? :-)

Marie said...

So many stories to tell...! Another book, maybe? :-)