Margaret Mary Craske " Zuleka "

   

Baba's Dancer     AKA  Margarita Craskova / Krasova

 

 

Born : 26th November 1892 - Mutford, Suffolk, England

Died : 18th February 1990 - Myrtle Beach, S.C., USA ( Grand Strand Hospital )

Buried : Her ashes are interred at Upper Meherabad, India ( next to Elizabeth Patterson )

Parents : Edmund George Craske & Hannah ( nee Bishop )- married : 1889 Lowestoft,Suffolk

Siblings : Dorothy G. & Olive M.

 

ENGLISH

 

Lived in India for 7 years during WW2.

Moved to live in America in 1946.

 

LM p1572b
1931 : Margaret with Meher Baba at East Challacombe, England. Image courtesy of Lord Meher p.1572. Image been edited by Anthony Zois

 

CONTENTS :

 

1.   Geneology

2.   Dancer

3.   Dance Studio

4.   Meher Baba - early days

5.   Teaching in the USA

6.   1952 - Meher Baba's USA visit

7.   1956 - Meher Baba's USA visit

8.   Books about Margaret

9.   Retirement

10. Former pupils

11. Ships Travelled

 

 

MARGARET CRASKE - GENEOLOGY

 

Father :   Edmund G. Craske - born 1857 Stowmarket, Suffolk, England

                                                   ( 1901 Census ;44 yrs.old )

                                                 - died : 13th January 1931

Mother :  Hannah Bishop      - born 1859 Cheshunt, Hertfordshire,England

                                                   ( 1901 Census ; 41 yrs.old )

                                                -  died : 1929

 

Children : Mary M.(Margaret) Craske - born 26th Nov.1892  Suffolk,England

                                                   ( 1901 Census ; 8 yrs.old )

                  Dorothy G. Craske - born 1897 Suffolk,England ( 1901 Census ; 4 yrs.old )

                  Olive Muriel Craske - born 1898 Suffolk,England ( 1901 Census ; 2 yrs.old ) died :                                                    7 March 1947 The Priory, Aldeby, Norfolk, England

                                                 -Married : Philip Livingstone Ashford  - Children : David & Paul

 

When Edmund died in 1931, his estate went to his son-in-law Philip L.Ashford, some 7,800 pounds which equates to todays value of almost half million pounds.

 

 

1901 British Census

2 CLEVELAND ROAD LOWESTOFT, SUFFOLK

 

 

Margaret's father Edmund had built a Thames sailing barge the "Emily Smeed" in 1872 at Murston, Kent. Reg.no. 67044 NK.

Thames sailing barge centaur
Thames sailing barge centaur

 

The Craske family always lived in the East Suffolk region near Lowestoft on the coast.

They lived in various houses ;  2 Cleveland Road and Oulton Road Lowestoft also St.Peters Road Kirkley.

 

Map showing locations related to the Craske Family, mostly in East Suffolk

 

 

Margaret Craske's Birthplace

 

ALL DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE GENEALOGY, TELEPHONE,  THE DANCE SCHOOL LOCATION  AND PASSENGER LISTS WERE PROVIDED BY PAUL EDWARDS.

 

 

 

 

 

MARGARET CRASKE - DANCER

 

 

Margaret Craske's dancing career began when she was aged 14. She was first mentioned dancing with her two sisters - Dorothy & Olive - the Craske Sisters.

The production they were in was "Cinderella : A Ballet" Choreography by Fred Farren; music by Sidney Jones; libretto and costumes by C. Wilhelm. London, Empire Theatre, 6 January 1906.

 

Margaret began her ballet training with a local Suffolk teacher in 1908 as aged 16, a late starter but by all accounts she was very athletic.

In 1918, a friend persuaded her to join the classes in London by the celebrated maestro Enrico Cecchetti. Apparently, he growled and complained about her work and even threw his cane at her. She was terrified and moved near another dancer Tamara Karsavina ( a celebrated dancer ) who told her " you should be happy, he likes you !"

Later, under his guidance she flourished, becoming a proficient dancer.

 

In 1920, Sergei Diaghilev who had a famous ballet company - Ballets Russes, called on Cecchetti for English students to join his mostly Russian dancers for the London production of "Les Sylphides". Margaret assumed the stage name Margareta Krasova/ Craskova. She was a prodigy but danced with them for a short time only.

 

Click on the web address to see a short example of the ballet piece ; The main dancers are - Dame Margot Fonteyn & Rudolph Nureyev

 

VIDEO CLIP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7fS3XP0hC0

 

Thereafter, she choreographed ballet numbers, musical shows and toured the English provinces in a small troupe, that included Ninette de Valois and Marie Rambert, they performed in music halls and variety theatres.

She became a soloist for the Royal Italian Ballet. During this time, Margaret was asked to "break in" Anna Pavlova's pointe shoes and Pavlova's old shoes were regularly sent to Cecchetti's pupils.  

                                                                

During one of the dance tours Margaret damaged her Achilles tendon bringing her performing career to an end. She returned to England from touring and became Cecchetti's assistant. When Cecchetti retired in 1923 to live in Europe, Margaret took over teaching at his studio for the next 6 years and was known to be very pedantic and strict about enforcing Cecchetti's methods.

Maestro Enrico had often asked her often to "cleanup and fix" the manuscripts of the adagios that Idzikowsky had made.

Margaret remarked of Cecchetti  "He was already old when I met him... he was a darling... he would bend his head and look under his eyes at you as if you were a criminal. And he did occasionally give us a tap with the stick. That's not legal now. He was a very fine teacher. One loved him."

 

She was philosophical about the loss of her stage career: "I hurt a tendon. I couldn't dance for some time, and then I was getting older ... so what!"


Before his return to Italy in 1923, he gave his personal teaching certificate to five English girls: Margaret Craske, Mary Skeaping, Derra de Moroda, Ninette de Valois and Lucie Saronova.

The Cecchetti Society was founded by the Cecchetti himself with a founding committee consisting of ; Margaret Craske, Jane Forrestier, Marie Rambert, Cyril Beaumont, Molly Lake, F.Derra de Moroda & Ninette de Valois.

 

In late 1928 after Enrico Cecchetti died, Margaret and her friends Cyril Beaumont, Stanislas Idzikowsky and Friderica Derra de Moroda decided to codify Cecchetti's methods. These are used by ballet teachers and continue to teach Ceccetti's techniques to pupils up to the present.

Two books were published, the second one was co-written by Margaret and Cyril - "The Theory and Practice of Allegro in Classical Ballet "(1920).  These books are the basis of the Cecchetti method taught around the world.

 

Enrico Cecchetti with Margaret Craske, and Derra de Moroda. It is uncertain whether the ballerinas mentioned is correct..
Enrico Cecchetti with Margaret Craske, and Derra de Moroda. It is uncertain whether the ballerinas mentioned is correct..

 

THE FOLLOWING EXCERPT IS THE EARLIEST MENTION OF MARGARET AS A DANCER

Excerpt from Anne Witchard's book  "Bedragged Ballerinas on a bus back to bow" - Fairy Business _Ch.3
Excerpt from Anne Witchard's book "Bedragged Ballerinas on a bus back to bow" - Fairy Business _Ch.3

 

Cecchetti trained under Lepri, a pupil of the great Carlo Blasis who codified the technique of Classical Ballet in 1820. His ideas were developed further by Cecchetti who grouped the Classical vocabulary into six sets of exercises, one for each day of the week. This work was recorded and published in 1922 by Cyril Beaumont, assisted by Stanislas Idzikowski and Enrico Cecchetti himself. Further volumes were compiled by Margaret Craske and Derra de Moroda.

Then in 1923 he returned to Italy and he accepted the post of Director of the Ballet School in La Scala, Milan. He died there in 1928.


At his London Ballet School, opened in 1918, he taught nearly every famous dancer of the time. Before his return to Italy in 1923, he gave his personal teaching certificate to five English girls: Margaret Craske, Mary Skeaping, Derra de Moroda, Ninette de Valois and Lucie Saronova. It was Madam Saronova who, instead of joining the Diaghilev Company, came to Australia with her new husband just after the first world war and founded the Cecchetti Society in Australia, in Melbourne.

 

 

1925 : Enrico Cecchetti letter to Margaret Craske

 

 

MARGARET CRASKE  -  DANCE SCHOOL

 

 

26 WEST STREET W.C.2 , LONDON

 

 

Click below to see the web page of the location in London, UK.

MARGARET CRASKE DANCING SCHOOL -

 

Late 1920s

Margaret Craske and her business partner Mabel Ryan who was also a former pupil of Cecchetti, opened a ballet school at 26 West Street, off Cambridge Circus,London. They taught the Cecchetti dance method. Margaret took the senior and professional classes in the mornings and Mabel taught the childrens classes, for elementary and intermediate students.The school also taught the history of dance, anatomy and Spanish dancing.

Margaret was described as a diminutive woman, with an austere manner but a sharp sense of homour, she was known for the consistency and clarity of her classes.

She was also doing all the choreography for the San Carlo Company at this time.

Margaret was also ballet mistress for Sadler's Wells ( now Royal Ballet ).

She also conducted examinations for the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.

Her ballet school produced many famous dancers who went onto their own illustrious careers.

The following are some of these dancers ; Cyril Beaumont, Sir Fredric Ashton, Anthony Tudor, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Anton Dolin, Dame Peggy van Praagh, Mary Skeaping and Keith Lester

 

1931Margaret and Mabel Ryan gave a dance performance for Baba when he visited their dance studio on the 28th September.

Mabel Ryan
Mabel Ryan

 

Nowadays, at one end of the street is the Ivy Restaurant and opposite to it is the theatre which has the longest continous play "The Mouse Trap".

 

ALSO at the same address as the dance studio ;


26 West Street, WC2 was a Methodist chapel much earlier on. It was John Wesley’s first Methodist chapel in London’s West End. It is no longer used as a church but has a commemorative plaque and its pulpit (used by John and Charles Wesley between 1741 and 1793) is now in the nearby St Giles in the Fields.


http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=74291


http://hollowayrev.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/in-wesleys-footsteps-3-west-street-chapel/


http://www.britannia.com/hiddenlondon/stgilesfields.html


http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/john-wesley-the-methodist/john-wesley-after-the-portrait-by-j-w-l-forster/

 

Margaret Craske's Dance Studio advertising in the "Dancing Times". Courtesy of Charmaine Foley
Margaret Craske's Dance Studio advertising in the "Dancing Times". Courtesy of Charmaine Foley
1931 ; Margaret Craske Senior Proffessional Class. Courtesy of the Peggy Van Praagh Collection.
1931 ; Margaret Craske Senior Proffessional Class. Courtesy of the Peggy Van Praagh Collection.
Dame Margaret "Peggy" van Praagh wearing tutu in Margaret Craske's studio in 1940. Courtesy of National Library of Australia - nla.pic_an23439270-v
Dame Margaret "Peggy" van Praagh wearing tutu in Margaret Craske's studio in 1940. Courtesy of National Library of Australia - nla.pic_an23439270-v
John Wesley
John Wesley
(Top Row, L-R) Derra de Moroda, Jane Forestier, Marie Rambert, Cyril Beaumont; (Bottom Row, L-R) Molly Lake, Margaret Craske, Ninette de Valois
(Top Row, L-R) Derra de Moroda, Jane Forestier, Marie Rambert, Cyril Beaumont; (Bottom Row, L-R) Molly Lake, Margaret Craske, Ninette de Valois

Margaret had gone in late March 1931 to the Devonshire retreat East Challacombe near Combe Martin,England. Her account of her visit is printed below. ( #1 )

https://www.meherbabatravels.com/location-gallery/england/east-challacombe-england/

 

 

Meher Baba arrived in London for the first time on the 12th September 1931 and was staying at Kitty Davy's parent's home at 32 Russell Road Kensington. Margaret was waiting at the home and opened the door for Baba when he arrived. ( #2 )

https://www.meherbabatravels.com/location-gallery/england/davy-s-home-32-russell-rd-kensington-london-england/

 

Margaret Craske went on the 19th September 1931 to  Combe Martin,England to meet Meher Baba and stayed for 4 days. She and Mabel Ryan gave a dance performance for Baba.

On the 28th Sept.,  Baba visited their dance studio at 26 West Street London.

( see Dance Studio section )

https://www.meherbabatravels.com/location-gallery/england/margaret-craske-dancing-school-london-england/

 

Baba stated it was Margaret's love that brought him to England.

 

AUDIO CLIP

 https://www.mandalihall.org/margaret-craske-1

 

( #1 )

 

I had read Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and other esoteric writers, but never found what I was looking for. Between 1929 and 1931, everything I valued disappeared. My father died, my mother died, the man I was in love with died. Diaghilev died, Anna Pavlova died. So I was in quite a bad state. I had spent my life looking for God and I now thought it was nonsense. I was not going to look anymore – I had had enough! I resolved to go somewhere to recover enough to decide what to do next.

On my way to South England, I met a woman who approached me at the railroad station and asked where I was going. I told her, and she said, "How wonderful! That's where I spent my honeymoon." The woman wanted to go, but had no money. On the spur of the moment, I paid her fare and we went together.

On the way, I mentioned I wanted to go somewhere for Easter away from friends. She told me about a "wonderful place" down in Devonshire run by Meredith Starr. She didn't tell me about it being spiritual (I wouldn't have gone if I had known), but she did say, "Oh, there's just one other thing. There are four hours of meditation required there." I said, "Oh, well," wrote to Meredith, and it was arranged.

I went to East Challacombe for Easter in 1931, and was met by Meredith. One had to walk two miles on a dirt road through ditches and fields to get to the retreat, a stone house on a hill. When I walked into the sitting room, on the right I saw Baba's picture and asked, "Who's that?" Meredith told me about Baba. I stayed at Devonshire for two weeks and toward the end of my stay, Meredith said, "If you work hard for five years, meditating every day, you will be fit to meet Meher Baba when he comes."

But Baba came in five months! Having given up God, He decided to come to me.

 

Lord Meher ; Bhau Kalchuri - Vol.4 Page 1408

 

Courtesy of Lord Meher, Vol.4 : Bhau Kalchuri
Courtesy of Lord Meher, Vol.4 : Bhau Kalchuri
Baba with Margaret at St.Marks - Painted by Carlie Mills - Oil-30x24 - Courtesy of Alex Marks' mom -2002 - http://www.millsstudio.com/
Baba with Margaret at St.Marks - Painted by Carlie Mills - Oil-30x24 - Courtesy of Alex Marks' mom -2002 - http://www.millsstudio.com/
MSI Collection ; India - Margaret with Baba's brother - Adi S Irani
MSI Collection ; India - Margaret with Baba's brother - Adi S Irani

 

Meher Baba's 1st visit to London - 1931

 

 ( #2 )

The door bell rang and I opened the door to Meher Baba and entourage when they arrived in London from Folkestone by train. And there at the bottom of the steps stood the most appealing figure that one could ever hope to see. No sign of power, just a vision of gentleness, grace and love that touched the heart immeasurably.  He came up the steps, gave me a passing  glance and accompanied by Meredith Starr, "Chanji" Dadachanji, Agha Ali and others, went up the stairs to his room. I remained in the hall.

A few minutes later, Meredith came down the stairs and grandly said, "Meher Baba wishes to see you".

I was the first to be invited to his room to meet him.

Overcome by nervousness, I said, "Wouldn't he like to see somebody else first ?"

Meredith looked at me sternly and said, "Meher Baba wishes to see you". I turned and climbed three flight of stairs to the most important moment of my life, the meeting with my Master.

He sat motionless in a chair and then gestured to Chanji to bring a chair and place it facing close to his. He then beckoned me to sit. For a moment or so, there was intense quiet and then I had a strong feeling that it was important to look into his eyes. Courage came and I did so, looking in deeply - deeply as far as I could.

I have nothing to say about what I saw. In fact, I don't know. I only know that from that moment, whatever rough treatment he may have handed out afterward, there has never been a moment's doubt as to his being the embodiment of Love & Life.

Meher Baba asked Margaret to come to East Challacombe in Devon. Baba said " You are my disciple of my Circle and you must dod as you are told".

Margaret agreed to travel there to the retreat soon after Baba arrived there.

 

At another time, Baba said that he was very surprised to meet Margaret so soon coming to the West.

 

Margaret Craske went on the 19th September 1931 to  East Challacombe, near Combe Martin, Devon, England to meet Meher Baba and stayed for 4 days.

 

Whilst walking with Baba across the hillside, she was asked to do a dance, whilst wearing a tight tweed skirt, country boots dancing and no flat ground. This was not ideal but she still did it, Kenneth Ross joined in with his bag-pipes whining and wheezing in the beginning.

 

 

At the end of his 1st visit to England in 1931, Meher Baba asked his English disciples to meet him in Paris. After they met there, took a group photo on the Eiffel Tower, Meredith and his wife Margaret were sent back to England. Baba asked Margaret Craske to accompany him to Marseilles because her French was better than the other disciples who also were sent back to England.

They took the train to Marseilles. She had the compartment next to Baba.

Baba tapped on the compartment wall 3 times and said it meant "I love you " and she was to do the same in return. During the journey, this went on all night. She had hardly slept by the time they arrived in Marseilles.

After breakfast in a cafe, Baba told Margaret she should use rouge to improve her look.

They then took an elevator to The Lady of the Sea Church. Whilst there, Margaret had given a coin to a local beggar, Baba told her they if she wanted to give money to beggars that she should say " This is a present from Baba ".

 

At one occasion Chanji blurted out "she is a link type, Baba must have Margaret !

 

Margaret met Baba again when he visited England in mid-April 1932. She went to East Challacombe again to be with Baba.  ( see above photos )

 

Excerpts from "Dance of Love " book.

Mid 1930s ( L-R )  Margaret Craske,  Delia De Leon & Kitty Davy in India
Mid 1930s ( L-R ) Margaret Craske, Delia De Leon & Kitty Davy in India

 

In July 1932, whilst staying at Villa Fiereza ( near Santa Margherita ) with Meher Baba and the other Westerners, Margaret gave Baba a short dancing lesson in the back yard of the hotel  and for this purpose he went by the name "Thomas".

During this time Baba asked Margaret again to dance for him when they went into a coffee shop in the nearby coutryside to get out of the rain. No preparation, wearing heavy clothes, old gramophone and broken/poor records to accompanying her. She danced around the tables for about half an hour. The locals were very polite and quiet during the dancing.

 

Meher Baba returned to India that August.

 

In February 1933, Margaret was in the first group of Westerners to visit India. Baba had told the group that he wanted them to stay for years. Margaret sold her business.

Three weeks after arriving in India, Baba sent them all back to the West. Local government pressure was behind the decision. Margaret regained her school.

Meher Baba returned to England & Europe in June 1933.

Several years later, Meher Baba again invited Westerners including Margaret to India in December 1936. This time they stayed till July 1937, when they all returned to the West including Baba.

 

Meher Baba had instructed Margaret in the early 1930s not to read anything but Agatha Christie books.

 

 

VIDEO

I Am The One Reality: Meher Baba (Special Features)

Special features from I AM THE ONE REALITY include "The Nitrate Movies of Elizabeth Patterson," and videos featuring Elizabeth Patterson, Kitty Davy, Margaret Craske, and Delia DeLeon. Rare original 1933 footage in India and Italy is shown, as well as clips of 4 close women disciples.

 

VIDEO CLIP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEyIBw22Pos

Margaret speaks between 17:35 - 27:06 mins

 

 

 

1937

 

During her visit to Nasik, India, Baba asked Margaret to produce a large dance of 120 dancers. She got Rano Gayley to represent 60 dancers and Delia De Leon the other 60. Kitty Davy was on an out-of-tune piano and the only music available was Shubert's "Unfinished Symphony" which was not suitable. Baba told them abandon the project.

 

In the late 1930s, when she was back in London, she was put in charge of Rustom and Freiny Irani's son Faloo, to educate him. etc.

 

MSI Collection ; India
MSI Collection ; India

1939

 

On the 4th July 1939, Margaret received a letter from Meher Baba, a few weeks before WW2 started, ordering her to come to India immediately and to bring Faloo as well.

She eventually left England, due to very strict conditions, escorting Faloo and with only two 10 pound notes in her shoes. She was forced to leave her money in her English bank account.

When they arrived in Colombo, Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) that money paid for the their fares to Bangalore - she was broke !

Margaret was to spend the next 7 years ( war years ) in India with Meher Baba's Ashram.

 

Meher Baba called Margaret " You're a jewel of a disciple ".

 

She was allocated the job to read the daily local newspaper about the war news and later to read the books that Delia was posting continually.  They included - Shelock Holmes, Agatha Christie, P.G.Wodehouse, Rex Stout and others.

Baba requested all of Stout's books to be sent to him ( which proved to be no easy task ) and later J.R.R.Tolkien's books.

 

Margaret in foreground wearing white hat & patterned dress
Margaret in foreground wearing white hat & patterned dress

Early to mid 1940s

 

In the early 1940s, a past pupil of Margaret's - Clair Aytoun had visions of Baba in her bedroom, Baba instructed some 6,000 pamphlets of "Life-sketch and Messages of Shri Meher Baba "  were to be sent to her in Melbourne, Australia.

She was the link to Australia !

 

During these war years, Margaret was also given the task to teach Mehera & Mani to learn to swim. By the time she completed the lessons, Mehera could dive smoothly and swim the length the then house pool underwater.

 

Meher Baba and the mandali ( close followers ) were in Secunderabad ( is the twin city of Hyderabad located in the Indian state of Telangana ) when WW2 ended.

 

Soon after the war was over, a lady called Milicent Deakes visited Meherabad and Margaret was escorting her during her visit to Baba.

 

Margaret recalls :

Milicent Deakes did not take much notice of us. She was crying and continued to do so. Her mind was completely on Baba and her interview with Him. We barely existed. When we finally sat down to eat, she came back to the world, looked round at us and at the primitive arrangements, probably sensing a mild embarrassment on our part, then said, "Don't worry about me. I have just come from a concentration camp myself."

 

And just for one moment, we saw ourselves as the outside world might have seen us.

 

 

MSI Collection ; 1937 - Trimbak, India - Margaret is 2nd from the left
MSI Collection ; 1937 - Trimbak, India - Margaret is 2nd from the left

 

Late February 1946

 

While Meher Baba and his mandali were staying in Dehra Dun in Northern India, Katie Irani made a birthday cake for Baba. Later, Baba gave wine to the lady mandali. Baba spelled out to Margaret "Tonight in Heaven" , Margaret then said "Yes, but tomorrow won't be".

Baba laughed.

 

On the 1st May she, Meher Baba and Kaka Baria took the night train to New Delhi. She then took the train to Ahmednagar, where Sarosh Irani then drove to Arnavaz Dadachanji's home in Bombay.

She had to wait 10 days to get a birth to the U.K.

 

Portofino, Italy - early 1930s ( L-R ) Margaret, Minta Toledano, Delia De Leon, Quentin Tod & Mabel Ryan ( sitting below )
Portofino, Italy - early 1930s ( L-R ) Margaret, Minta Toledano, Delia De Leon, Quentin Tod & Mabel Ryan ( sitting below )

 

1946

 

After arriving in London, she was walking on Kensington High Street when she saw a life size image of Meher Baba in a shop window. It was the shop of Kinye Imai, the photographer who took Baba's photos in 1931.

 

Prior to leaving for America, Margaret met Dr. William Donkin in London on the corner of Oxford St and Tottenham Court Road he said to her while shaking her hand "Dr. Livingstone I presume ".

 

 

MARGARET CRASKE'S - London Home

 

78 VICTORIA STREET WESTMINSTER, LONDON - early 1930s

- Princes Mansions

 

"RED spot" marks the location of the original mansions
"RED spot" marks the location of the original mansions

The house no longer exists. A modern office tower complex occupies this space.

 

 

MARGARET CRASKE'S - London Home

 

24 BEAUFORD MANSION, BEAUFORD STREET CHELSEA, LONDON SW 3 - mid to late 1930S

 

Photo courtesy of Paul Edwards
Photo courtesy of Paul Edwards

Margaret Craske lived here with her business partner, Mabel Ryan until early 1938.

 

Beauford Street Chelsea -  early 1900s
Beauford Street Chelsea - early 1900s
"R" marks the location of the Masions
"R" marks the location of the Masions
Margaret's home number is the same as Mabel Ryan - see near the bottom of the list. - Courtesy of Paul Edwards
Margaret's home number is the same as Mabel Ryan - see near the bottom of the list. - Courtesy of Paul Edwards
Awakener ; Vol.20,No.2 - Portofino 1933 - Margaret seated on wall ( 4th left )
Awakener ; Vol.20,No.2 - Portofino 1933 - Margaret seated on wall ( 4th left )
He was standing at the foot of the steps leading to the front door, dressed in a thin white gown, a short, furry coat and a pink turban; and he was looking at the house very quietly. He passed in through the door and gave me a smile in passing...

A little later I went in to see him. I was very nervous, and did not know how to address him, but as soon as I entered the room I was completely won over by the love which seemed to permeate his whole personality. He spelt out on the alphabet board, 'It was your love that brought me.' ...

Of the four days which I spent in Devonshire with him and the group, it is difficult to write. The whole time was invested with a dream-like quality of pure love, timelessness and great beauty.


Margaret Craske
1931, London
Av p134

Italy 1933
Italy 1933

 

 

LETTER SENT BY MARGARET TO MEHER BABA IN THE 1930s

 

Courtesy of : HEART TALK – Adi K. Irani Secretary Collection – Fifty Seventh Letter
Avatar Meher Baba PPC Trust, Archives, Meherabad
 
This week's letter is to Baba from Margaret Craske, who had met Baba in England on His first visit to the West in 1931. It is not dated, but was written just after Baba's Birthday in 1932 and before Baba told His new English lovers that He was sailing from Bombay on 24th March 1932 on the Conte Rosso and so would see them again shortly. Baba's Birthday was often celebrated according to the Gujarati calendar and the dates varied from year to year. In 1932 it was celebrated on 17 February in Nasik.
 
As mentioned in a previous Heart Talk, the trip to Marseilles is in reference to Baba's first trip to the West, where He permitted Margaret to accompany Him on the train from Paris to Marseilles. Their sleeping compartments adjoined each other and Baba arranged for them to communicate through taps on the adjoining wall. Three taps from Baba meant "I love you" and three knocks from Margaret back meant the same. Baba's first trip to the West ended in Marseilles, where He sailed for Bombay on the Narkunda, arriving there at the beginning of January 1932.
 
Zillah was Kitty's teenage niece from Canada, who had met Baba in England.

 

 

Courtesy of : HEART TALK – Adi K. Irani Secretary Collection – Fifty First Letter
Avatar Meher Baba PPC Trust, Archives, Meherabad

This Heart Talk posting is to Baba from Margaret Craske. It is undated, but was written soon after Baba sailed on the Bremen on 14 May 1932 from Southampton, England for New York on His second trip to the West.

 

Courtesy of : HEART TALK – Adi K. Irani Secretary Collection – Sixtieth Letter
Avatar Meher Baba PPC Trust, Archives, Meherabad

The Heart Talk letter this week is to Chanji from Margaret Craske, who rarely dated her letters! However it refers to the tearful farewell at Southampton, England to Baba, who sailed for New York on the 14th May 1932 on board the S.S. Bremen, arriving there on the 19th May. The "boys" referred to, who were traveling with Baba, are Baba's brothers, Beheram and Adi Jr., Kaka Baria, Dr. Ghani, Chanji. Quentin Tod was one of the first English Baba lovers.

 

Late October 1936 . Margaret used the name "Thomas" instead of Baba. This was the name he used during one of his dancing lessons with her.
Late October 1936 . Margaret used the name "Thomas" instead of Baba. This was the name he used during one of his dancing lessons with her.
13th Nov.1943 : Letter from Josephine Ross to Margaret
13th Nov.1943 : Letter from Josephine Ross to Margaret

 

 

 

 

Margaret Craske - Teaching in the USA

 

1946
1946

1946

 

Meher Baba told Margaret in India prior to her traveling to the USA, she would

" lay cables " for him.

Laughing, Baba opened his hands and then spelled out on his alphabet board,

" You must go ; I have made you my link in America".

 

Margaret Craske  was invited by Anthony Tudor & Lucia Chase ( director ) -  [ who were in London for a U.S. cultural exchange program ] to give lessons to their dance company - American Ballet Theatre. She arrived in New York by chartered airplane after briefly going to Canada to obtain the appropriate visa in 1946. She was aged 54.

By New Years Day 1947 she was teaching in San Francisco.

In 1950, American Ballet Theatre & Metropolitan Opera joined together to form the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School. Margaret became the director and remained there till the school closed in 1968.

She then joined Manhattan Festival Ballet as ballet mistress till 1983. When it closed she moved to Ballet School NY where she taught for the next 3 years till retirement in 1986, aged 94.

Throughout those years, she also taught at Theatre & School at Jacob's Pillow, Mass., also at Julliard School of Music & Dance.

 

(L-R) Arthur Mahoney, Margaret Craske, Thalia Mara, and Joe Pilates ; photo by Tom Post, 1947 -Jacobs Pillow Archive
(L-R) Arthur Mahoney, Margaret Craske, Thalia Mara, and Joe Pilates ; photo by Tom Post, 1947 -Jacobs Pillow Archive

 

 

1952 Meher Baba's USA Tour

 

https://www.meherbabatravels.com/location-gallery/usa/prague-oklahoma-usa/

 

After Meher Baba visited the Meher Spritual Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, he and his close ones set off in 2 cars to drive to Los Angeles, California.

After some days, they were driving through Prague, Oklahoma when Baba's car driven by Elizabeth Patterson was involved in a head-on crash.

Baba, Mehera Irani and Elizabeth sustained serious injuries and were treated at the local medical center.

Delia De Leon phoned Margaret who was in New York about the car crash and was told Baba wanted her in Prague. The next day she flew to Oklahoma City and arrived in the evening in Prague.

Baba asked her if it was possible to exercise his muscles on the right side without moving the bone structure, etc. Yes, it was, she then explained when and how she had studied this.

So, 3 times a day, she worked on Baba's muscles on his right side and did what she could for Mehera and Elizabeth.

Eventually, the invalids were taken to Elizabeth's home - Youpon Dunes in Myrtle Beach.

Baba and Mehera travelled in an ambulance together and were very comfortable.

 

 

 

1956  Meher Baba's  USA Tour

 

1956 - Longchamps Restaurant, New York City. Margaret on far left is seated at the main table with Meher Baba and his close followers.
1956 - Longchamps Restaurant, New York City. Margaret on far left is seated at the main table with Meher Baba and his close followers.
Courtesy of "God Alone Is" - video
Courtesy of "God Alone Is" - video

These are some of Margaret's New York dancers that came to perform for Baba at Myrtle Beach.

 

Tex Hightower stated that it was Margaret who told them ( himself, Peter Saul and Don Mahler that they were to carry Baba's chair when he visited the Myrtle Beach Center during the 1958 visit.

Helen "Bunty" Kelley who was Scottish taught the dancers the Highland fling which was to be performed for Baba.

 

 

VIDEO CLIP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56i7IdHuz8g

 

Bunty, Ella, and Tex begin by talking about Margaret Craske, their ballet teacher who told them about Baba, and they later describe their meetings with Baba.

 

Margaret seated in front of Baba - Charles "Tex" Hightower ( top left ), Peter Saul (top right ) , Margaret "Bunty" Kelly ( Lw.left ) & Marie Adair ( Lw.right )
Margaret seated in front of Baba - Charles "Tex" Hightower ( top left ), Peter Saul (top right ) , Margaret "Bunty" Kelly ( Lw.left ) & Marie Adair ( Lw.right )

A humourous exchange between Meher Baba and Margaret Craske with Eruch Jessawala looking on.

AGNES BARON (left), Meher Mount co-founder and lifetime caretaker, and Margaret Craske, a disciple of Meher Baba and ballet teacher from New York City, tackle the weeds during a month of silence in July 1949
AGNES BARON (left), Meher Mount co-founder and lifetime caretaker, and Margaret Craske, a disciple of Meher Baba and ballet teacher from New York City, tackle the weeds during a month of silence in July 1949
USA late 1950s ; Meher Baba caressing Margaret's cheek with Adele Wolkin & Beryl Williams ( far right ) . Courtesy of Glow Magazine.
USA late 1950s ; Meher Baba caressing Margaret's cheek with Adele Wolkin & Beryl Williams ( far right ) . Courtesy of Glow Magazine.
In this photo: John Kriza, Nora Kaye, Margaret Craske Photo: Gjon Mili/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images Jan 01, 1947
In this photo: John Kriza, Nora Kaye, Margaret Craske Photo: Gjon Mili/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images Jan 01, 1947
Ballet Mistress Margaret Craske conducting class for leaping dancers John Kriza, Michael Maule & Peter Gladke (L-R) as Nora Kaye leans against piano (R).
Ballet Mistress Margaret Craske conducting class for leaping dancers John Kriza, Michael Maule & Peter Gladke (L-R) as Nora Kaye leans against piano (R).
Center: Margaret Craske, a cecchetti pupil who became ballet mistress of Ballet Theatre in 1947, conducts a class with Enrique Martinez
Center: Margaret Craske, a cecchetti pupil who became ballet mistress of Ballet Theatre in 1947, conducts a class with Enrique Martinez

 

''She was a tiny woman - maybe all of five feet tall - with little feet in pink ballet slippers,'' a student, Nancy Reed, told Klasina Vander Werse for a 1983 feature on Miss Craske in Ballet News. ''She'd wear bell-bottomed trousers to teach in, and her feet would dart out of the trousers like hummingbirds, the pants flapping.''

 

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/23/obituaries/margaret-craske-is-dead-at-97-directed-met-opera-ballet-school.html

 

1975 : Margaret in her New York City apartment - photo taken by David Fenster
1975 : Margaret in her New York City apartment - photo taken by David Fenster

 

VIDEO CLIP : "Clip 1 " Margaret filmed by Irwin Luck. Duration : 1:01 min.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBjt_rU433M

 

 

She once said, the advice that Cecchetti had given her. These words remain part of my life :

 

"Give only one idea - discipline per exercise."

 

"People only learn when they are ready."

 

"You have to know what is in their heads before you can help them."

 

"If you cannot feel it then you cannot teach it."

 

Courtesy of Cecchetti Society - www.cicb.org/margaretcraske

 

 

 

Books about Margaret Craske

 

She was the author of two standard references on the Cecchetti technique: ''The Theory and Practice of Allegro in Classical Ballet,'' written with C. W. Beaumont in 1950, and ''The Theory and Practice of Advanced Allegro in Classical Ballet,'' written with Derra de Moroda in 1956.

 

 

THE DANCE OF LOVE

MY LIFE WITH MEHER BABA

 

Margaret Craske

 

1980

 

Published by ; Sheriar Press

 

193 pp.

 

STILL DANCING WITH LOVE

MORE STORIES OF LIFE WITH MEHER BABA

 

MARGARET CRASKE

 

1990

 

Published by ; Sheriar Press

104 pp.

 

VIDEO CLIP

Peter Saul talks about the first time he met Meher Baba with Margaret in New York.

Duration : 5:05 mins.

 

 

Margaret Craske  -  Retirement

 

Margaret Craske's birthday with Ann Conlon(L) & Debbie Kramer (both seated), Sally Haviland, Yvonne Riley, Malinda McCulloch,Dana Ferry,Beth McKee, Ambika Sharan (crouching),Barbara Connor (kneeling)at Happy House on the Meher Spiritual Center Nov.26 1989
Margaret Craske's birthday with Ann Conlon(L) & Debbie Kramer (both seated), Sally Haviland, Yvonne Riley, Malinda McCulloch,Dana Ferry,Beth McKee, Ambika Sharan (crouching),Barbara Connor (kneeling)at Happy House on the Meher Spiritual Center Nov.26 1989

 

Margaret retired from teaching in 1986 and moved to Myrtle Beach and lived on the Meher Spiritual Center. She was a member of the Board of Directors for many years.

https://www.meherbabatravels.com/location-gallery/usa/myrtle-beach-sc-usa-1/

 

 

 

VIDEO CLIP

Memoirs of the Frivolous Three

Taped in September, 1988 in Myrtle Beach, SC, - Delia De Leo, Margaret & Kitty Davy

Margaret speaks between 2:54 - 4:30 mins

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Su-kY9Mcr6c

Mary Lloyd Dugan and her dog visiting Margaret when she was retired at the Meher Center in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Mary Lloyd Dugan and her dog visiting Margaret when she was retired at the Meher Center in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

 

 

Some of the past students of Margaret Craske

 

United Kindom & Commonwealth

 

Frederick Ashton, Sir

Robert Helpman, Sir - Australia

Claire Aytoun - Australia

Cyril Beaumont

Anton Dolin

Anthony Tudor

Peggy van Praagh, Dame - Australia

Margot Fonteyn, Dame

Eileen Keegan - Sth. Africa

Ninette de Valois

Lucie Saronova - Australia

Wanda Edwards - Australia

Sylvia Forrest - Australia

Jocelyn Yeo - Singapore

Audrey Williams

Mary Skeaping - English / Swedish

Dulcie Howes - Sth. Africa

 

United States :

 

Paul Taylor

Bunty Kelly

Tex Hightower

Peter Saul

Ella Marks

Marie Adair

Donald Mahler

Agnes de Mille

Glen Tetley

Viola Faber

Carolyn Brown

Diane Byers

Vida Farber

Danielle M.Jays

Glenford A. Tetley Jn.

Ilsa Bush

Jerome Robbins

Nora Kaye

Sallie Wilson

Alicia Alonzo

Joe Fabian

Cathryn "Skipper" Damon

Cynthia Mays

Zebra Nevins

Hugh Laing

Melissa Hayden

Carmen Mathe

Nancy Reed

Gerald Arpino

Pauline Koner

Ron Sequoia

James Waring

Sura Geshen

Brynar Mehl

Naomi Westervelt

Susan Kramer

Bruce Marks

 

Other countries :

 

Lydia Sokolova- Russia

Jean Cebrun - France

 

 

Margaret Craske is Margaret Bernstein's Godmother. Margaret Bernstein is Bunty Kelly's daughter.

The link below is Margaret Bernstein's musical tribute to her Godmother. The music is called "Meherabad Morning".

 

AUDIO CLIP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSZf2rxHUes

 

Margaret with Diana Byer artistic director with The NY Theatre Ballet
Margaret with Diana Byer artistic director with The NY Theatre Ballet

Miss Craske was thought by many to have influenced Tudor's choreographic style, though she herself dismissed the notion. She and Tudor ''nipped'' at each other's teaching, as one student put it, as colleagues at the Metropolitan, with Tudor sometimes teaching students wild variations on the strict steps and gestures she had taught them the day before.

Like Tudor, however, she believed that movement must ''mean something,'' as she put it. ''There is no room in the world for dancers running around and around the stage and then kicking their right ear,'' she said in a 1983 interview. ''That doesn't mean a thing.''

 

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/23/obituaries/margaret-craske-is-dead-at-97-directed-met-opera-ballet-school.html

 

 

Dance Magazine in her orbituary said that "she greatly influenced how ballet technique is to be taught."

 

Margaret Craske's Grave inscription at Upper Meherabad, MS., India
Margaret Craske's Grave inscription at Upper Meherabad, MS., India

 

 

Travels by Ships

 

SS BRITANNIA
SS BRITANNIA

ON MAY 22ND 1933 MARGARET CRASKE  ( 36y.o.) & KITTY DAVY LANDED IN LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND FROM BOMBAY ( MUMBAI ) INDIA.

SS BRITTANNIA

SS Britannia - Arriving 22nd May 1933 - Departed Bombay  & landed at Liverpool.
SS Britannia - Arriving 22nd May 1933 - Departed Bombay & landed at Liverpool.
HMS EDINBURGH CASTLE
HMS EDINBURGH CASTLE

 

IN THE SECOND HALF OF 1935 MARGARET CRASKE WENT TO SOUTH AFRICA. SHE MADE THIS TRIP TO ADJUDICATE THE CECCHETTI DANCE STUDENTS EXAMS.

SHE TRAVELLED 1ST CLASS. IT APPEARS SHE TRAVELLED ALONE.

THE SHIP ARRIVED AT SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND 7TH OCTOBER 1935.

 

THERE WAS A CECCHETTI DANCE SCHOOL ESTABLISHED THERE IN 1928.

 

P & O. SS. RAWALPINDI
P & O. SS. RAWALPINDI

On the 11th December 1936, Margaret along with 5 other English followers sailed from Europe to Bombay ( Mumbai ), India.

Later, on 26th June 1937 she sailed from Bombay to England. There were 4 others travelling with her ; Kitty, Delia, Will & Mary Backett.

 

 

 

 

HMT. CITY OF MARSEILLES
HMT. CITY OF MARSEILLES

Margaret sailed on this ship in mid-October 1938 from Southampton, England to Colombo, Ceylon ( Sri Lanka )