Jump to content
Andfos

Theodore Bekefi

Recommended Posts

I am a London-based dance historian - perhaps one or two have seen my book "Tamara Karsavina, Diaghilev's Ballerina".

I'm currently documenting all of the Diaghilev dancers and researching their origins with the Mariinsky, Bolshoi and Wielki theatres. Following the Russian revolution many disappeared without trace, but some made their way to the US as teachers. One of these was Theodore Bekefi, who danced in St Petersburg and with Diaghilev under the name Fedor Scherer. He ended his days teaching in New Jersey, but I have no more information than that. Does anyone have a date of death for him or, even better, an obituary?

Many thanks.

Share this post


Link to post

Related to the Madame Bekefi that Agnes deMille mentions in "Dance to the Piper" (in the chapter on making Rodeo)? deMille mentions having studied with her in 1936.

Best I can do.

Share this post


Link to post

I am a London-based dance historian - perhaps one or two have seen my book "Tamara Karsavina, Diaghilev's Ballerina".

I'm currently documenting all of the Diaghilev dancers and researching their origins with the Mariinsky, Bolshoi and Wielki theatres. Following the Russian revolution many disappeared without trace, but some made their way to the US as teachers. One of these was Theodore Bekefi, who danced in St Petersburg and with Diaghilev under the name Fedor Scherer. He ended his days teaching in New Jersey, but I have no more information than that. Does anyone have a date of death for him or, even better, an obituary?

Many thanks.

Presumably you would pay a researchers fee?

Share this post


Link to post

Related to the Madame Bekefi that Agnes deMille mentions in "Dance to the Piper" (in the chapter on making Rodeo)? deMille mentions having studied with her in 1936.

Best I can do.

This would have been Maria Bekefi, Theodore's sister, also a dancer at the Mariinsky and with Diaghilev under the mother's name Scherer.

Share this post


Link to post

Related to the Madame Bekefi that Agnes deMille mentions in "Dance to the Piper" (in the chapter on making Rodeo)? deMille mentions having studied with her in 1936.

Best I can do.

This would have been Maria Bekefi, Theodore's sister, also a dancer at the Mariinsky and with Diaghilev under the mother's name Scherer.

And that is about twice as much as I knew about her before - thanks!

Share this post


Link to post

Admin note: on Ballet Alert!, it is always voluntary whether to respond to a post or provide information or to refrain for any reason. In fact, it is helpful to our members when the information is discussed, which is why we allow some new members to request it.

Share this post


Link to post

If anyone has an interest, I found out that Theodore Bekefi died "while on holiday" in Las Vegas on 1/8/1949. Oddly enough, given how often he was remembered as a wonderful teacher, there seems not to have been any obituary.

Share this post


Link to post

I am a London-based dance historian - perhaps one or two have seen my book "Tamara Karsavina, Diaghilev's Ballerina".

I'm currently documenting all of the Diaghilev dancers and researching their origins with the Mariinsky, Bolshoi and Wielki theatres. Following the Russian revolution many disappeared without trace, but some made their way to the US as teachers. One of these was Theodore Bekefi, who danced in St Petersburg and with Diaghilev under the name Fedor Scherer. He ended his days teaching in New Jersey, but I have no more information than that. Does anyone have a date of death for him or, even better, an obituary?

Many thanks.

So far, I have only come across the following.

THE TOPEKA DAILY STATE JOURNAL—WEDNESDAY EVENING DECEMBER 14 1921

Which displays an advertisement for Theodore Bekefi and the Imperial Russian Ballet at the Vaudeville Theatre.

Share this post


Link to post

Somewhere in the 60's, I called Maria Bekefi up for private lessons. I believe that she lived in the San Fernando Valley. I was a shy teenager and what I remember of the conversation was that she asked me what kind of attitude I had and I replied 'Cecchetti" which made her a little irritated. (I assumed that she probably meant if I had a serious attitude or not.) She told me her price which was around $20 and I gulped because that would take me quite a while to save that since I only earned 25-50 cents an hour babysitting. I couldn't confirm a time because I didn't have the money saved up yet, so she then started tellimg me that the price was cheap and that it'd hardly buy her a lunch. I think that I got a little bit intimidated after that. This is my only account of Maria. I really wanted to take with her, but it just didn't turn out.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi there

I came across Bekefi family in Russia and started collecting info on them.

The Bekefi family came from Hungary to Russia in 1860s, few brothers. One of them was a ballet dancer Bekefi Arnold/Adolf Fedorovich, second brother was Fedor Fedorovich, an artist and entrepreneur, and third brother was Karl Fedorovich Bekefi - father of Theodore.

Theodore or Fedor Karlovich Sherer-Bekefi was born 10 March 1891. From 1909 to 1914 an artist at Mariinsky Theatre. There is no file on him at Russian Archive of Art and Literature so very little information on Russian websites as well.

I believe he came to America in 1919 with his wife Sophia.

If interested I have more on other members of the family.

Regards

Tana

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Tana.

Excellent and very useful note about the wife Sophia. Your information just helped me to find their 1919 immigration record. He was also dancing in 1921 with "Sofia Rossova", which could have been his wife's maiden name. He took an American wife in the 1920s and had several children. I have been in contact with family members but, although very interested in the family's dance history, they were extremely reluctant to give any information on Fedor. I discovered that he died suddenly while "on holiday" in Las Vegas in 1949.

I'd love to exchange more information on the family, but we should do this away from the 'Ballet Alert' website. I suspect we're not allowed to type our private email addresses here - any suggestions?

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post

Neither of you have Personal Messenger privileges until you reach "Member" status.

Andrew and Tana: if you would like us to put Tana in touch with Andrew via email, please send an email to the "Contact Us" link at the top of the page to confirm. (Andrew, please also tell us which email address you prefer we forward.)

Share this post


Link to post

I am looking for information about Ethel MeVay, nee Sprague, born in Detroit, MI, USA January 22, 1898, died June 30, 1977 in Bennington, Vermont. Her obituary in The Bennington Banner, July 5, 1977 lists Theodore Bekefi as her long-time dance partner and lists her education as "Ballet Rusee de Monte Carlo school under the lesson Master".

Librarians at NYPL have found newspaper articles describing their dance tours in the USA in the 1930's.

I'm sorry that I don't have an obituary for Mr. Bekefi. I am interested to hear any info you may have on Mrs. MeVay.

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting to see these references - many thanks. Sherer was spelled in a variety of ways - Scherer (German) as well as Cherer (French); his sister Maria used a variety of spellings, as did his other sisters, who had been famous in Russia as the Bekefi sisters. Fedor Bekefi was dancing with his (then) wife, Sofia Rossova (sometimes Sherer, sometimes Bekefi) following their arrival in the US from Russia in 1919 until the mid 1920s. Then the trail seems to go cold until he reappears as a dance teacher in New Jersey in the late 1930s, by which time he seems to have married another of his partners, Grace Robinson. Sorry, I have no information on Ethel Mevay, and have not come across her name before. It would be interesting to hear whether they were indeed partners in the 1930s.

Share this post


Link to post

Readers might be interested to know that I'm now in contact with Theodore Bekefi's son Ted, who has been able to give me family information and photographs of his father. Although not a member of Ballet Alert, Ted happened to come across the website and made contact.

Share this post


Link to post

Readers might be interested to know that I'm now in contact with Theodore Bekefi's son Ted, who has been able to give me family information and photographs of his father. Although not a member of Ballet Alert, Ted happened to come across the website and made contact.

Good news! I am sure he can fill in some of the blanks. Looking forward to this info.

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...