Mr. Charles B. Cochrans’s next Revue
The weekly magazine ‘The Sketch’ carried a glamorous photograph of Menaka in the edition of December 18, 1929. She looks away from the camera, her hands in an elegant pose with her pearl necklace. Menaka sat in London for one of the photographers of Studio Lenare, specialised in society portraits. The photograph was accompanied by the early announcement that Menaka would be the star of a “revue” of Mr. Charles B. Cochran (1872-1951). In the 1920s and 1930s he was Great Britain’s leading theatre manager and impresario. During a visit to Vienna he was highly impressed with the Austrian ballet dancer Tilly Losch (1903-1975). In 1929 he gave her a prominent role in his musical revue ‘Wake up and dream’. In 1930 he introduced Britain’s dance lovers to ‘La Argentina’ (1890-1936). The fame of Spanish Antonia Mercé Y Luque had burgeoned since 1927, when she performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. According to ‘The Sketch’ preparations for Menaka’s new dance production would start in March 1930. Going by the newspaper reports, she returned in november 1931 to perfom in the London Pavillion.
We know from other newspapers that Menaka travelled these years to Germany, The Netherlands and France. Here she performed in November 1932 with Toshi Komori (1887-1951). In Japan he had learned traditional dances and ballet, leading him to pioneer a completely new dance form. Both Menaka and Komori explored tradition and modernity in their dance.
The Sketch, December 18, 1929, page 20.
Le Figaro, November 8, 1932, page 7.
James Cleugh, Charles Blake Cochran. Lord Bountiful (London 1938) 114-115.