Patricia Nelson and Her Continued Success
Information from overseas recently to hand indicates the continued success of Miss Mildred (Patricia) Nelson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Nelson, of Woodville, in her professional career. Miss Nelson has had the good fortune to step from one engagement to another, which must be a gratifying tribute to her ability. In April this clever New Zealand girl was engaged at the Folies Gergere [Bergere], in Paris, which she said was the nicest show she had ever been in – the dances being wonderful and the costuming and scenery very beautiful. For this engagement Miss Nelson had a specialty dance and a spectacular scena with the leading lady. She had to understudy the leading lady in numbers with Mr. Harry Pilcer, the producer, and principal star, also those of a solo dancer, as well as do her own work. Being a reliable understudy, Miss Nelson found, meant hard work and constant rehearsals, but this stood her in good stead when she was called upon to replace the leading lady in the biggest number in the show with the star. She also had to do a big solo number and a quick eccentric dance – all invaluable experience in specialty work.
Miss Nelson has been taking classical ballet lessons again from a wonderful executant, a former solo dancer for Albertina Rasch, one of the biggest dance producers in the States. There were a number of ex-Rasch girls in Paris, Miss Nelson stated, all of whom were marvellously clever – there did not seem to be anything they could not do and their work was most finished, but they attended classes everyday and had done so for ten years.
Miss Nelson tells of a trying ordeal which, fortunately, ended very happily for her. Arriving at the theatre one day feeling rather tired after dancing class she was met with the request to replace one of the leading ladies whose numbers she had not been called upon to understudy. There was no chance to rehearse with the orchestra and one of the girls in the dressing room sang the music while Miss Nelson tried to arrange some steps. The result must have been quite satisfactory for she received an encore and the personal thanks of the directors, and the author of the revue. It might have been Ireland, Miss Nelson said – having contributed the number one night, she had a rehearsal for it the next day.
The item was continued in the show as her specialty. This meant very strenuous work with two specialty dances, 13 numbers with the rest of the company as well as understudy work, but Miss Nelson was very fit and valued this experience.
In July Miss Nelson went to Geneva with the Roi Pausale company and enjoyed a most successful season, in appreciation of which the director arranged a wonderful excursion. A large ‘plane was provided for the whole company to fly over Lake Geneva to Lausanne and back. On returning there was a fleet of cars waiting to take the members for a drive all round the suburbs of Geneva, finishing up at a charming country hotel for dinner and dancing. Miss Nelson left at ten the following morning by aeroplane expecting to reach Paris at noon but encountered rough weather which delayed their arrival until 1.30 p.m. and gave her very little time before rehearsal for her next show. She left next day for Vichy with the new company, most of the members of which spoke only German. Vichy, Miss Nelson described as a smart health resort, a little the type of Rotorua, with mineral waters. Following this engagement Miss Nelson has signed yet another contract but is aiming at spending the summer in New Zealand with her people and will travel to the Dominion via the States. She expects to return to the other side for Continental summer, and will no doubt find fresh fields to conquer.