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Kathrine Sorley Walker (1920-2015)

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I had no idea about the Raymond Chandler connection!

With so little film available to show what dance could do, the writers of her generation really honed their abilities to describe what they saw. Reading them, even today, is such a window into that part of our history.

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This is such sad news, although not completely unexpected. Kathrine came to New York and Washington every autumn to visit several American friends, so I got to know her a bit. I remember many conversations with her about ballet. It would give me shivers, listening to her talk about all the premieres and debuts she had seen -- all in response to my questions, as she was the most modest woman imaginable. Kathrine also wrote for DanceView for several years and her writing was so elegant and so precise that I loved reading her. There are few people writing today at the same level.

In addition to her professional skills, Kathrine was witty, with an incisive intelligence, fun to talk to and fun to be with. I will miss her.

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It is unexpected. I'm sure I'd never imagined there could be anything connecting Ninette de Valois and Raymond Chandler.

No direct connections, but they were as close as Waterford and Wicklow, or at least their relatives were. Haven't checked the dates, but they might even have been resident in Ireland at the same time for a few years when they were both kids. Chandler was Irish on his mother's side, and when he was a child she moved to England and they often vacationed in Waterford with family. Chandler was educated at an English public school and had interesting things to say about the differences between British English and American English. The book of Chandler's correspondence and writings edited by Sorley Walker with Dorothy Gardner, Raymond Chandler Speaking, isn't comprehensive but it's a delightful introduction to Chandler's letters - he was one of the best literary letter-writers ever, vivid and funny.

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