Margaret Mary Craske " Zuleka "
Baba's Dancer AKA Margherita Craskova
Born : 26th November 1892 - Norfolk, England
Died : 18th February 1990 - Myrtle Beach, S.C., USA
Buried : Her ashes are interred at Upper Meherabad,India
Parents : Edmund George Craske & Hannah ( nee Bishop )
Moved to live in America in
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 )
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 )
On the 28th Sept., Baba visited their dance studio at 26 West Street London.
Baba stated it was Margaret's love that brought him to England.
Margaret Craske died on February 18, 1990 at the age of 97 at Grand Strand Hospital in Myrtle Beach. Her ashes were brought to the Women’s Cemetery in Meherabad and interred in a grave beside Elizabeth Patterson.
Margaret was among the group who welcomed Meher Baba on his first visit to England in 1931. This group included Delia de Leon, Will and Mary Backett, Charles Purdom, Kitty Davy and Margaret Craske. Meher Baba made a profound impact on all of them. Their meetings took place in London and in East Challacombe, Devon, where Meredith Starr had established a spiritual retreat. Margaret Craske described her first meeting with Baba. “…I went into the room and was completely won over by the love which seemed to permeate his whole personality.”
A ballet teacher with her own school in London, she had danced with the Ballet Russe and the Royal Ballet, but gave the school away in 1941 to sail for India to spend seven years in Meher Baba’s ashram at Meherabad. Upon her return to England in 1946, she was appointed ballet mistress of American Ballet Theatre and sailed for America, where, Meher Baba told her, she would “lay cables” for him. Laughing, Baba opened His hands, and then He spelled out on His alphabet board, “You must go; I have made you my link in America.”
Over the following years, she also taught at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, the Julliard School and Manhattan School of Ballet. Some of her dance students became followers of Meher Baba.
In 1987, Miss Craske retired from teaching and moved to the Meher Spiritual
Center in Myrtle
Beach, SC, where she was a member of the Board of Directors.
( #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
( # 2 )
The bell rang and I opened the front door. 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, Chanji 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."
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 flights of stairs to the most important moment of my life, the meeting with my Master.
He was seated 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 and Life.
Lord Meher ; Bhau Kalchuri - Vol.4 Page 1408-9
Meher Baba had instructed Margaret in the early 1930s not to read anything but Agatha Christie books.
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.
A humourous exchange between Meher Baba and Margaret Craske with Eruch Jessawala looking on.
MARGARET CRASKE DANCING SCHOOL -
26 WEST STREET W.C.2 , LONDON
Margaret Craske and her business partner Mabel Ryan ran a ballet school at 26 West Street, off Cambridge Circus,London. They taught the Cecchetti dance method. The studio operated during the 1930's.
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.
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.
MARGARET CRASKE'S HOME :
26 VICTORIA STREET WESTMINSTER, LONDON - early 1930S
The house no longer exists. A modern office tower complex occupies this space.
MARGARET CRASKE'S HOME :
24 BEAUFORD MANSION, BEAUFORD STREET CHELSEA, LONDON SW 3 - mid to late 1930S
Margaret Craske lived here with her business partner, Mabel Ryan until early 1938.
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.
LETTER SENT BY MARGARET TO MEHER BABA IN THE 1930s
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
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.
Margaret Craske (Nov. 26th 1892 - Feb. 18th, 1990)
Margaret Bernstein's Godmother and namesake, Margaret Craske, was an acclaimed ballet teacher who introduced Margaret Bernstein's parents to one another. Both of Margaret Bernstein's parents had been ballet students of Margaret Craske. Margaret Bernstein’s mother, Bunty Kelley studied with her as a girl growing up in London, and Margaret Bernstein's father, Harry Bernstein, had been a student of Miss Craske at the Juilliard School in New York City. Margaret Craske also became a permanent fixture at the Metropolitan Opera House, where she taught ballet until she almost got run over by a New York City taxicab at the age of ninety-four. She spent the last years of her life residing at the Meher Center in Myrtle Beach at South Carolina where she entertained guests with her stories marked of her dry wit.
Margaret Craske was definitely one of the most influential people in Margaret Bernstein's life. Through her weekly contact, she not only gave an appreciation of the spiritual world, but also taught what it meant to aspire to excellence in all things. She was not only one of the world's most excellent teachers, but a strong dynamic woman with a sense of humor, a tenacious code of moral and work ethic, and a fiery personality. Although she passed away twenty years ago this month at age ninety-seven, her memory lives vibrantly on in the hearts and minds of those who knew and loved her.
New York Theatre Ballet
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
New York Theatre Ballet was founded in 1978 by its artistic director, Diana Byer. Dedicated to the principles of the Cecchetti-Diaghilev tradition, the company both reprises classic masterworks and produces original ballets.
The roster of New York Theatre Ballet includes choreographers Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, August Bournonville, Michel Fokine, John Taras, Antony Tudor, and other legendary artists. The company tours its family and adult programs both nationally and abroad, and has become the most widely seen chamber ballet company in the United States.
MISSION | Dedicated to the principles of the Cecchetti-Diaghilev tradition, New York Theatre Ballet revives classic masterworks while also nurturing and producing new ballets.
OVERVIEW | New York Theatre Ballet was founded in 1978 by its artistic director, Diana Byer. It is the most widely seen chamber ballet company in the United States. Hailed by Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times as "a discreet little pearl in the oyster of New York dance," NYTB has earned acclaim for its restoration and revival of small masterworks by great choreographers and for its innovative ballets based on children's literature.
NYTB tours its family and adult programs both nationally and abroad, and it operates the nationally-recognized, pioneering LIFT Community Service Program. Its audiences know the Company for its theatrical expressiveness, high production quality, excellent technique, and accessibility. Its aesthetic roots are in the Cecchetti-Diaghilev tradition of the Ballet Russe. The world-renowned teacher and ballet mistress Margaret Craske, brought to the United States by the great choreographer Antony Tudor, passed this tradition on to NYTB.
HISTORY | For nearly 30 years, NYTB has produced for adult audiences dozens of contemporary ballets and classic masterworks. Its roster includes choreographers Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Auguste Bournonville, William Dollar, Michel Fokine, John Taras, Antony Tudor, and other legendary artists. During the 2006-07 season, as a 100th birthday tribute to her, it presented a special program of ballets choreographed by Agnes de Mille, including original dances from Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, Okahoma!, and Carousel. In August 2007, NYTB performed its A. de Mille Celebration at the Inside/Out Festival at Jacob's Pillow. The Company will return to Jacob's Pillow on July 2, 2008 to perform its Signatures 08: A Celebration of Legends & Visionaries program.
New York Times
Margaret Craske Is Dead at 97; Directed Met Opera Ballet School
By JENNIFER DUNNING
Published: February 23, 1990
When Ballet Theater and the Metropolitan Opera House collaborated to open a school at the Metropolitan in 1950, she remained there to teach. It later became the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School, and Miss Craske became its director during her nearly-20-year association with the school. She left in 1968 to become ballet mistress of the Manhattan Festival Ballet. She also taught at Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Dance, and for many summers at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. She continued to teach at Manhattan School into her 90's. Among her students were Melissa Hayden, Hugh Laing, Nora Kaye, Carmen Mathe, Paul Taylor and Sallie Wilson.
Injury Ended Performing
Miss Craske was born in Norfolk, England. She began her professional career dancing in music halls. Serge Diaghilev chose her for his company in 1920 after seeing her in a class taught by Cecchetti. When a serious foot injury forced her to stop performing, Cecchetti asked her to help him teach at his London studio. In 1931, she set off for India to study with Meher Baba, an Indian guru. She remained with him for seven years and continued as a disciple for the rest of her life.
An austere, private woman with a sense of humor, Miss Craske was an extremely popular teacher who was known for the consistency and clarity of classes in which she would sometimes spend hours on a single step. ''She was a tiny woman - maybe all of five feet tall - with little feet in pink ballet slippers,'' a student, Nancy Reed, told Klasina VanderWerse 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.''
Like Cecchetti, Miss Craske stressed exact technique and attention to detail in her teaching, emphasizing balance and encouraging her students to pay attention to the quality of movement and the anatomical and physiological workings of the body.
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.''
Miss Craske retired from teaching in 1986, moving to Myrtle Beach, where she had served as a director of the Meher Spiritual Center for 11 years.
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. She also wrote ''The Dance of Love,'' published in 1980, and the recent ''Still Dancing with Love,'' a journal of her work with Meher Baba.
Some of the past students of Margaret Craske
United Kindom & Commonwealth
Frederick Ashton, Sir
Peggy van Praagh, Dame
Margot Fonteyn, Dame
United States :
Glenford A. Tetley Jn.
My special link to Margaret: Meher Baba's first letter to me (1947) was written in her hand.
I first met "Miss Craske," as her ballet pupils invariably call her, in the fall of 1946, when she arrived from London to take up her position as ballet mistress of Lucia Chase's Ballet Theatre. It was her first job on her return from seven years in India with Baba... years that had told on her health. She was not sure she could handle such a position, not only because of her health but because of her long absence from the professional world, her total immersion in the incredible discipline of following the Avatar on His home territory, as part of His intimate Circle. But Baba loves to throw you from one opposite of maya to the other, from absolute seclusion to great worldly activity, just as He alternated His seclusions with His whirlwind public darshan tours and work with the masses.
Margaret was born in Norfolk, England in 1892. Her father was owner of a small coastal fleet. She started studying dance at an early age; and was always very athletic. At 18 she took up ballet and progressed quickly. She studied with the famous Enrico Cecchetti in the private London studio he ran from 1918 to 1923, while he served as teacher for the Diaghilev Ballet Company. She says 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."
At the end of her study with him, the Maestro gave her a certificate indicating she was qualified to carry on his teaching tradition — a rare honor. Today her own book, The Theory and Practice of Allegro in Classical Ballet (1920), co-authored with critic Cyril Beaumont, is a classic reference on the famed Cecchetti method, and she is considered the world's leading authority.
She danced with the Diaghilev Ballet Company but her performing career ended abruptly with tuberculosis of the Achilles tendon. Thus she took up her incredible career as a teacher. She founded her own ballet school in London in the Thirties. She is philosophical about the loss of a stage career: "I hurt a tendon. I couldn't dance for some time, and then I was getting older ... so what!" she says now.
The Awakener Magazine
|Volume 20 Number 2||1983|
Margaret Craske (AKA Margherita Craskova), the prodigy dancer with the Ballet Russe who later taught in New York until her death in the mid-90s, writes movingly and convincingly about her experiences with a remarkable spiritual figure. That person, Meher Baba, was so sensitive as to awaken her heart. He opened an entire world of love and art for her. The lessaons she learned have immediate relevance to us -- whether or not we see ourselves as "dancers." Margaret Craske was truly an amazing woman.
Margaret Craske died on February 18, 1990 at the age of 97 at Grand
Strand Hospital in Myrtle Beach. Her ashes were brought to the Women’s Cemetery in Meherabad and interred in a grave beside Elizabeth Patterson. Margaret was among the group who welcomed Meher Baba on his first visit to England in 1931. This group included Delia de Leon, Will and Mary Backett, Charles Purdom, Kitty Davy and Margaret Craske. Meher Baba made a profound impact on all of them. Their meetings took place in London and in East Challacombe, Devon, where Meredith Starr had established a spiritual retreat. Margaret Craske described her first meeting with Baba. “…I went into the room and was completely won over by the love which seemed to permeate his whole personality.”
A ballet teacher with her own school in London, she had danced with the
Ballet Russe and the Royal Ballet, but gave the school away in 1941 to
sail for India to spend seven years in Meher Baba’s ashram at Meherabad. Upon her return to England in 1946, she was appointed ballet mistress of American Ballet Theatre and sailed for America, where, Meher Baba told her, she would “lay cables” for him. Laughing, Baba opened His hands, and then He spelled out on His alphabet board, “You must go; I have made you my link in America.”
Over the following years, she also taught at the Metropolitan Opera
Ballet, the Julliard School and Manhattan School of Ballet. Some of her
dance students became followers of Meher Baba. In 1987, Miss Craske
retired from teaching and moved to the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle
Beach, SC, where she was a member of the Board of Directors.
Margaret Craske (1892-1990)
British dancer and teacher Margaret Craske was a member of the Serge Diaghilev Ballets Russes in 1920. Because of a foot injury she was forced to leave the company after a year. When Craske returned to England she became Enrico Cecchetti's assistant. After Cecchetti's death Craske spent seven years studying the Hindu faith in India with guru Meher Baba. Miss Craske was one of the great teachers of the Cecchetti technique in London and the United States. She claimed to be the last of Cecchetti's disciples. Like Cecchetti, Miss Craske stressed exact technique and attention to detail. Her teaching emphasized balance and making students aware of the quality of movement.
Among her best known students while teaching at Sadler's Wells (now The Royal Ballet) in England were Antony Tudor, Hugh Laing, and Peggy van Praagh. After coming to the United States in the mid-1940's she became the first ballet mistress of Ballet Theatre (now American Ballet Theatre). Miss Craske also taught at Ballet Arts, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School, Juilliard, and Manhattan Festival Ballet (now Ballet School New York).
During her teaching career in America almost every great American dancer had the privilege of having Margaret Craske cut him or her to the quick. Having been one of her many students, I learned the pure Cecchetti system. She believed, as I do, that movement must mean something -- "There is no room in the world for dancers running around the stage and then kicking their left ear -- that doesn't mean a thing."
I remember my first class with Miss Craske. My first impression was that she couldn't make a dancer. But being on the G. I. Bill I didn't have a choice but to take her class everyday. The G.I. Bill provided an opportunity for the veterans of World War II to further their education and classes were compulsory. Once I started to listen to her I knew I had found the teacher who was to direct my future. For many years I taught what I had learned from her. Then, using her theories, I began to add my own ideas and those I learned from my many other teachers. But I always returned to Miss Craske's lessons.
With C.W. Beaumont, Margaret Craske wrote "The Theory and Practice of Allegro in Classical Ballet" in 1930. With Derra de Meroda, Craske wrote a second book in 1956 -- "The Theory and Practice of Advanced Allegro in Classical Ballet." On her own she wrote "The Dance of Love" in 1980 and "Still Dancing With Love," a journal of her work with Meher Baba. Miss Craske served as a director of Meher Spiritual Center for 11 years. In 1986 she retired from teaching and died in Myrtle Beach, S.C, at the age of 97.
(First published March 1996)
Courtesy of : http://www.ompoint.com/
MARGARET CRASKE GENEOLOGY
Father : Edmund G. Craske - born 1857 Stowmarket, Suffolk, England
( 1901 Census ;44 yrs.old )
- died : Febuary 1931
Mother : Hannah Bishop - born 1859 Kirkle, St.Peter, Suffolk,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
ALL DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE GENEALOGY, TELEPHONE, THE DANCE SCHOOL LOCATION AND PASSENGER LISTS WERE PROVIDED BY PAUL EDWARDS.
Travels by Ships
ON MAY 22ND 1933 MARGARET CRASKE & KITTY DAVY LANDED IN LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND FROM BOMBAY ( MUMBAI ) INDIA.
IN THE SECOND HALF OF 1935 MARGARET CRASKE WENT TO SOUTH AFRICA. IT IS NOT KNOW WHY SHE MADE THIS TRIP. IT APPEARS SHE TRAVELLED ALONE.
THERE WAS A CECCHETTI DANCE SCHOOL ESTABLISHED THERE IN 1928.
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.
Margaret sailed on this ship in mid-October 1938 from Southampton, England to Colombo, Ceylon ( Sri Lanka )