The Pryor-Menz Tour
After a year and a half on the East Coast, I was booked for a five week tour of the mid-western United States. This consisted of 23 concerts in Colleges and Universities in Texas, Kansas, Wyoming, Minnesota, Illinois and others. It was a valuable experience. The contract called for either one accompanist or two. Our choice was a pianist and guitarist to present a more rounded program. The price of course was higher with three instead of two!
It was a tiring effort, constant travel and performance, but with exciting moments along the way. Without fail, the audiences responded with enthusiasm and the press gave me unanimous praise. The guitarist, Felipe Lanza, was also a flamenco dancer but in this role a very capable flamenco player. Edwin Herbst, a Polish pianist with an excellent musical background was a fine accompanist who spoke Spanish well and did an admirable job of the piano dances. The program was well-balanced with several flamenco dances and a variety of Spanish styles to display my range. My energy was high and I was fortunately able to endure the heat of summer and the rigors of travel.
As is sometimes the case, there were conflicts relating to the driving chores and the strain of personal relationships among the four of us.
As it happened, my husband and I were undecided whether to return to New York or go on to Los Angeles from the last concert stop. The decision was made to return home. (I had been away for two and a half years) Many personal matters needed attention, but above all the determination to take advantage of enhanced performance credits took precedence.
The management of the concert series was more than pleased with the reception to my work and that was gratifying.
Armed with good press notices and the valuable exposure to East Coast audiences, I was in a position to take advantage of my new status. Engagements were forthcoming and at the end of 1955 a tremendous concert was presented by The Ethnic Dance Society in which I performed my one woman program at the Wilshire Ebell Theater. The concert was unbelievably long. So much new material from my repertoire needed to be showcased. I got away with it. It is difficult to understand why I was able to do 19 dances and even encore one of them! It was wonderfully reviewed in the Los Angeles Press.
Following this concert a contract was offered by the Turnabout Theater in Los Angeles. I was one of several acts and I utilized three of my dances to good effect. It also had a special prestige because of the excellence of the Yale Puppeteers and some of the actors who were associated with the Turnabout in the past such as Lotte Goslar and other prominent artists of the Legitimate Theater. I shared equal billing with Odetta, the wonderful African-American folk singer.