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Sono Osata

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Hi haven't written in a while but over the weekend I bought a book secondhand and it was written by Sono Osata.(Distant Dances) Anyone have anything they remember about her?

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I don't remember her, unfortunately, but that's one of my favorite dance books. I remember thinking at the time how wonderful it was that it got published, because she wasn't a big star (she was a young soloist at ABT when she stopped dancing) but it was absolutely fascinating to read about someone working with Tudor at her level (Rosaline in Romeo and Juliet and one of the Lovers in Experience in Pillar, I think, though this is from memory). You usually only read about principals, and, of course, the other characters are important as well. She's a good writer, too. Glad you found it!

I hope some of our more experienced balletgoers can tell us something about her.

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I am still reading it, but she had so much exposure with the Ballet Ruses, it amazed me that I had never seen her name before now. I read a lot.

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I believe that after leaving ABT, Osato had quite a career in musicals and films.

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Since Osato left Ballet Theatre in the mid-40's I didn't see much of her dancing, but I do remember her as Rosaline in Tudor's R&J and she looked wonderful in those Renaissancey costumes! I did see her in the Robbins musical "On The Town" (the take-off on Fancy Free) and she had the major

starring role and portrayed "Miss Subways". Nancy Walker was also in the show.

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I'd love to get a copy of that book. I remember being entranced by glamorous photos of Sono Osato in some of the old ballet books I'd pore over in the Dallas library--photos by Barron (sp?), Cecil Beaton (I think)--can't remember all the photographers' names, but the old black and whites from the '30s-'50s were just dripping with glamour, atmosphere and character. Anyway, I remember pictures of Osato in Rimsky-Korsakov's "Le Coq d'Or" with one of the Ballets Russes companies. Then, of course, I'd listen incessantly to Leonard Bernstein's "On The Town," on which her character doesn't sing at all, but has three lines: "Who--me?"; "Ohhh"; and "Gaby!" She had a great success in the show, playing Ivy, the girl chosen to be 'Miss Turnstiles for June,' but I don't know if it's even her voice on the recording, as it was made quite a few years after the show closed, and a few parts were not performed by the originators. I think it was Agnes De Mille who credited Sono Osato with teaching Mary Martin how to walk like a human being again, when Ms. Martin returned to the stage from Hollywood, where Ms. De Mille felt they had practically ruined all Ms. Martin's native charm. Now, why in the world do I remember that?

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