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Colonel de Basil ballet dancers Elizabeth Souvorova (Betty Scorer), Aloysius Frank and the dog Apsia, Theatre Royal, Sydney, February 1937 / Sam Hood

' ... When that troupe sailed to New Zealand from Australia in March 1937 “a new member of the company went with them”, reported the Adelaide newspaper, The Mail.


“He is, without a doubt, the most popular member of the company. And his name is Aspa. He is only a tiny dog, but he is the inseparable pal of Alexis Frank and Betty Souvorova, who picked him up starving on the streets of King’s Cross.


“As he stepped from a shop one night Mr Frank stepped on a dog, which limped off licking a damaged paw. Miss Souvorova consoled the dog with a piece of chicken. Since then he has rarely been apart from his master and mistress who, in reality, are Mr and Mrs Frank.


“He goes to every ballet and never misses a party with his master and mistress. The name Aspa which they gave him, is the Russian equivalent of ‘Fido’. The whole company co-operated to keep Aspa with them while they toured New Zealand”.


In her letters home to her mother in England, Betty referred to the dog as Apsia, not Apsa, and wrote of how much she cried when she left him with the Allen family (of the law firm, Allen, Allen & Hemsley) when the Australasian tour finally ended in July.'



Extract from "Dancers and dogs all at sea" / Valerie Lawson. Dancelines [blog].


Format: Negative


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From the collection of the State Library of New South Wales

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Taken on February 26, 1937