Sunday, May 29, 2011

Venus Passing: Felicity Isabelle Colby 1946-2011

Flick in orbit

The choreographer who gave movement to many of Agent Triple P's adolescent fantasies, Flick Colby, has died at the age of 65.

Flick, centre front and the original group

Born in Hazleton, Pennsylvania in 1946 she moved to London after graduation and formed the Pan's People dance troupe in December 1966 with Dee Dee Wilde.  They first appeared on Top of the Pops in 1968 and were the resident dancers on the UK's top pop music show for the next eight years, performing, usually when an artist couldn't make it into the studio, because they were too American, for example.  

Colby stopped dancing in the group in 1971 to concentrate on the group's choreography.    The group split in April 1976 after their final Top of the Pops performance. Flick stayed with the show as choreographer until 1981 but eventually returned to the US.

Poetry.  In motion.

Other dancers in the group's names still resonate with British men of Agent Triple P's age: Babs, Louise, Ruth Andi and Agent Triple P's favourite, Cherry Gillespie, who joined as an elfin 17 year old in 1972, when original member Ruth left to start a family.

There was much criticism of the literal nature of Pan's People's choreography as it related to the lyrics of the songs, in those pre music video days, but Agent Triple P, and his particular school friends: Snout, Cess, Bean Kid, Jimbo etc, thought they were the pinnacle of terpsichorean talent.  Inthe early seventies when there was very little in the way of suitable lust objects and when short skirts had become an endangered species, just as we were registering girls for the first time, the esteem in which these scantily clad lovelies were held cannot be overestimated.

Flick's picture from the National Portrait Gallery collection

So, thank you Flick for all those jaunty and, latterly, quite raunchy routines.

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