Swing Discussion Boards > Laure' Haile – a bit of history

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Steve Pastor, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Spitfire has been on line today, and I'm thinking this might be interesting.

    Laure' married and moved to Tucson sometime 50/51/52 to manage a studio for Lee Lawless, who owned an AM franchise there. She wrote that, "The Varsiovienna was the popular dance around town, and there were weekly dance contests in Varsiovienna. Lot of pretty variations. Students would come on to take a course in "Put Your Little Foot." "

    Interesting look at "country" dancing before Urban Cowboy, which is consistent with one or two other preUC books I've looked at.

    After about 10 months in Tucson, she and her husband Andre' (he took a new name since he was Greek and I guess "George" was less ??? than Andre') were given a franchise in Fresno, Calif. After adding 3 more studios in that part of California, they moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    To me, that business about Murray giving her a mission to document swing in LA seems more and more a myth.
    Steven123 likes this.
  2. Steven123

    Steven123 Member

    Just wondering if you have written any books or encyclopedias about the history of dancing.
  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I've done a fair amount of editing of dance and rockabilly related articles on wikipedia. There is an on line encyclopeida that has an entry for The Bop that is missing key information, but the person who wrote the article is one of their writers, so I don't think they would be very open to updating. Philadephia Historical Society ignored me when I wrote to them that the Bop definately didn't start on American Bandstand.

    I AM working on something that I hope will be a book. And I should start a web site, since I think blogs are too limited. I have some very definate ideas about how to do things. THAT would be a real time intensive thing!

    And, it would be nice to see a book come out of all of this. That, I think, realistically, is years away since I keep finding new, interesting things to help put things in a broad historic perspective.
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Correction and a Caveat for post #1 up there.

    Andrew George Pappas changed his name to George Andre'. Sorry for the misinformation, Georges!

    The dates are based on Laure' mentioning a transit strike. There was one in 1950 in Los Angeles, the only one I can find (the one in 1955 is too late). If there was an earlier one, sometime 1945-1949, that would change the timeline a few years.

    And, just to be clear, Laure' Haile is credited with being the first one to document Western Swing, which became known as West Coast Swing.
  5. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    i read histrionic sorry steve.....:eek:
  6. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    That, too!
  7. Steven123

    Steven123 Member

    That's cool.
  8. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    So, Murray studios had a list of 6 dances when Laure' was hired to be the dance director at the Santa Monica studio, with 20 steps for each dance. "Just the names, no breakdowns".

    A televised ad in just about 10 years later listed 7 basic dances: Rumba Mambo Tango Waltz Samba Swing Fox Trot.
    So, again, not only was Laure' not hired by Arthur Murray, but it looks like she had the benefit of an already existing
    And we know that Murray's LA studios were teaching "smooth swing" in 1942.

    Murray students in show where the 7 dances ad was shown danced Western/West Coast Swing, while another featured couple Joe and Silvia Fuco (spelling) from the Long Beach studio danced jitterbug. And THAT looked a whole lot like what the Hollywood dancers do in the 40s and 50s movies.

    TangoTime will recognize these folks who were in the show: Ruth Silvey, Miss Barbara Paull, and Tommy Norton.
    Laure' did not appear, and apparently was still in Santa Monica, which is not that far away, but she didn't get involved in televised events until she moved to the Crenshaw studio.

    In 1960 Laure' opened her own studio ballroom.
  9. clumsy fellow

    clumsy fellow Active Member

    "Laurie also held the record for continuos turning, she did "Spot Pivots" for one and a half hours."

    Whoa... you missed the coolest part of her bio.
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Not really.
    I'm working from sources that apparently were not used when "her bio" was created.
    And I've got SO much information that it's taking a long time to evaluate it and piece together some sort of narrative.
    And, would you agree that it's not a stretch to say that "her bio" could be improved?
    And that's just one minor part of this project that has reached out to many places and decades.
    Yesterday I found something that gave a pretty good indication of what she was worth at one time. (She was pretty successful financially.) But then, her age did not agree with what the social security records show.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  11. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Yep, sure do know Ruth , she was the D.D. at the Wiltshire blvd studio where I worked ,and her husband owned the Redondo beach school ( ex football player ).. and Barbara was regional D.D. Tommy owned a studio but I cant re-call which one.

    I also worked for Lee Lawless ( husbands name is Mike ) in Phoenix. They also owned Scotsdale and Tucson at the time .Lee/Mike came to Atlanta where I was working, in around 1983/4 to manage a school there. It didnt last long, less than 6 months .They returned to Arizona shortly after it closed.

    Mike was only ever on the business side of things, and never got involved in the dance side of things. He sat in his office all day .
  12. clumsy fellow

    clumsy fellow Active Member

    I would agree.

    I thought I would attempt to track down a few contacts for you since I am near Milwaukee, no such luck… Yet. If you need some "leg work" done in MKE, let me know.
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    When Laure' and Andre' moved to Milwaukee, they worked for Lew and Norma Carter who owned 25 studios. Andre’ was a manager and Laure’ a dance director.

    I have a couple of pictures of the couple that were taken when Xavier Cugat appeared to the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee. Cugat eventually bought one of Laure's gowns, one that her mother had made for her. Her bought it for his new singer, a very young (18) Abby Lane, whose mother accompanied her on tour with Cugat.
    I haven't been able to find a date for when Cugat was at the Riverside. That would help in knowing when she (and Andre'?) went back to Los Angeles.

    Latin was apparently really big in the 40s and 50s, and Laure' did something called "a tornillo" a lot in her performances in the 50s.
    Maybe TangoTime is familiar with that particular move?
  14. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Hi Steve... another name ( Abby ) that brings back fond memories. I had a prof buddy ( from the UK ) who worked in Philly, at FA , whilst I was working for AM there for a short period. He ( his name is Sonny ) used to dance with Abby on stage ( Mambo ) . when Cugie came to town .
    Tornillo is a variation tha one sees in Cuban Son, and various forms of this in other dances. I believe its also used in Ice skating ( sit spin )

    Lady ( or man ,in Son ), balances on one leg ,whilst lowering to the floor as the partner moves around them in a circle. The stationary one ,where the man "turns the lady on her axis, is used ( or was ) in Intern, style latin ( used to be called the " Screw " ).. they changed the name to "Pot stirrer " as the states-side connotation is somewhat differento_O.

    Reminds me of a true story about the name. There was a certain DD in the South (Not LA) who was from an eastern european country, and her english was not the best.

    Trying to explain a "Twist turn " to a class she retorted;" After the man puts his Right foot behind his left , he then screws himself ".
  15. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Laure' was in a number of movies before she was hired to teach dance for a Murray studio. One of her talents was as an ice skater, and she was in the film "Hit the Ice," starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
    That film is currently available for viewing on DailyMotion. This url has "Part 2".
    Watch for Laure' about 7 minutes into the clip. She'll be coming right at you!

    Is there a name for that thing they are doing where she is thrown forward?
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Laure left LA in 1947 and didn't return to teaching there until 50 or 51. In 1946 she wrote a couple of songs and they were recorded and released.
    I found an accessable copy of one of the songs.


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