Laing, Hugh, 1911-1988. Papers, c.1943-1988
Hugh Laing (Hugh Morris Alleyne Skinner) was born on June 6, 1911, in Barbados, British West Indies. He was of English and Irish background, the son of Donald M. and Beatrice A. Skinner.
Laing went to London in 1931 to study art, and there began taking ballet classes. He became associated with Marie Rambert's Ballet Club (later Ballet Rambert) in 1933, where he met Antony Tudor. He accompanied Tudor to New York City in 1939 and danced with Ballet Theatre in its first season, January 1940. He continued to dance with Ballet Theatre for most of his performing career, with the exception of 1950-1952, when he was a member of New York City Ballet.
Laing danced on Broadway in the 1945 Lerner and Loewe musical comedy, The Day Before Spring, which was choreographed by Antony Tudor. He performed the role of Harry Beaton in the 1954 MGM film of the Lerner and Loewe musical Brigadoon.
Laing married dancer Diana Adams in 1947; they were divorced in 1953.
Laing was a dramatic dancer, known for his good looks and the intensity of his stage presence. He created leading roles in many of Tudor's ballets, including Dark Elegies, Jardin aux Lilas, Pillar of Fire, Romeo and Juliet and Undertow. He later helped restage Tudor ballets for American Ballet Theatre, and designed the scenery and costumes for some productions of Tudor's works. Laing was Antony Tudor's friend and artistic collaborator until Tudor's death in 1987.
Hugh Laing died of cancer in New York City on May 10, 1988.