A few weeks ago Vintage Videos posted up some questions he had always wanted to ask about our dance troupes. These were all impeccably solid and sensible questions, to which many responded with straightforward and excellent answers. That thread did make me consider setting my own set of Dancing Queen related posers and subjects to think over. And my questions and ideas will in no way match the common sense approach of Vin, but were idle thoughts that have occurred to me on more than one occasion. Therefore, this thread may be considered as ‘Things I Want to ask the Forum and to which there is no sensible answer’.
Here are those questions, which I shall be posting up in separate threads, one by one. And my own personal responses. I would hope that, perhaps, others would like to express their opinions on these subjects, as well.
Q. 1 PAN’S PEOPLE- The Football Team Approach?
Could Pan’s People have continued after April 1976? I realise Flick had decided that a different team was needed for some time prior to Pan’s’ final routine that month, so continuation was never going to happen. But could the group gone on for further if required, after Ruth had stopped dancing? Much in the way that a sports team continues, even after all the original participants are no longer in the team anymore. With younger dancers like Sue and Mary, possibly even Lee, to be part of the integral line up that keeps going through many future changes as newer dancers replace the older ones. To be honest I would say no. Once Ruth and Cherry were gone from Pan’s People, the group would not be the same, but a mere imitation in name only. Any essence that made Pan's People the group they were would have dissipated with the last classic member departing.
A supersub approach?, Off - Pearson, On - Hammond, lol yeah not sure about that. With no original dancers you would have lost the very essence of the group.
Theres an article from (i think) August 1975 where they talk about ending the group and thats before Lee and Mary started, so the writing was on the wall already but with Babs and Dee Dee leaving in quick succession was a big blow for the group and Ruth suddenly finds herself the eldest by some 9 years i'm not suprised they ended when they did. Ruth had been dancing on TV shows for 12 years by this point which is a great commitment. Its worth mentioning Dee Dee did start up Pans People again, something im not keen on the use of the name as to me they are not Pans People and should have come up with something else instead of trading on the name, but thats another issue i guess.
My love must be a kind of blind love, I can't see anyone but you...
I always think of Pans People in three entities, namely classic Pans (original line-up), Middle Pans (5 dancers when Cherry joined) and lastly Late Pans (Mary/Lee). So to go on with the Pans People concept would surely have required an even later version as Cherry wanted away and Ruth's best days were behind her. Lee also was not a required, hence her early April departure, so they would have needed another two or three dancers to make it up to the regulation five or six.
Quite clearly the shows producers and i guess even Flick herself wanted to try something a little different and Ruby Flipper came onto the scene. Okay the Flipper experiment came to an end 5 months later, but as far as im concerned Pans People as a TOTPs brand finished at the correct time.
But of course, as we went on to find out later that year, the idea of the all-girl dance troupe was very much alive and well.
The queens are dead, long live the queens.
Due to other commitments I've not managed to catch up as yet with Vins recent questions but I'll hope to do so in due course. Meanwhile turning to Hanway's ponderings - No. 1.
Doubtless the group could have continued as an all female troup and with the original name but my reading is that Flick was looking for new challenges and new avenues to explore. She still had the two best dancers that ever featured in any of the dancing troupes, namely Sue and Cherry, and she wanted to build on that and create something just a little different by adding experience (Patti), ingenue (Lulu), and a dash of masculinity to the proceedings. And I can well see her reasoning. After six years even the best recipes are likely to pall and need a refresh.
I don't think Pan's People could have continued.Dancers have a short shelf life at the top level which means that they leave.You could just replace individual dancers but you get to a point when none of the originals are there.That poses the question - why not just form a new group who will be fresh.This is what Flick did.
Quite debateable really. I think they could have continued post April 1976 as there was some lovely music around and videos were not altogether out there. We were all really in shock with so many departures at such a short hiatus and then came Ruby Flipper which were good. I think they could have continued minus the men and then (at the time) stopped at 1978. At the time it was just not ideal to see dancers on TOTP. I wanted videos but of course as I have grown older my taste has changed.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
Yes I think the Pans People was too memorably associated with the early 1970s and those original members so I think it was right to take the opportunity of Ruth's impending exit to make a real change with a new name. Keeping key dancers was a great move and I wish Cherry's heart had really been in it as I love watching her but keeping Sue was mandatory and finding a Patti and a Lulu was a stroke of genius. Only error was not calling Ruby Flipper "Fledgling Legs"
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
I think Pans People should have ended once Babs and Dee Dee left. Their last 6 months or so were still good but just doesn't feel the same. It would be like the Rolling Stones continuing without Mick Jagger.
Eight years was one heck of a long time for PP to be resident on TOTP so they certainly had a good run. One wonders whether an appraisal on their future was instigated at the time of Babs and Dee-Dee's departure to see how the land lies and ultimately I'd say last remaining link Ruth began pondering her own career crossroads after saying farewell to her two companions in the Autumn of 1975 along with the realisation she'd be turning 30 in the Summer of '76.
Without her, Pan's People would have entered Ship of Thesus territory, a philosophical version of Trigger's Broom - no original parts - so the Sprink of 1976 seemed the right time.
There may well have been artistic or personnel reasons, but for me the key is Flick and Ruth created a new business entity, Ruby Flipper Ltd (their names interlaced in the name), and presumably had most or all of the share capital, and rights to the name.
I don't know the business arrangements of Pan's People but it would seem Flick didn't control the name, as Dee Dee felt in a position to use it. So by creating a new group with a new name, Flick and Ruth got full creative and business control, which would seem a sensible place to be for whatever group they were putting on TOTP.
And every night we'll have a dance
Cause what's a vacation without romance
Hmm...I don't think PP could have continued. Times change, music changes, tastes changes. Once Ruthie left there was no more PP. The main elements were gone. I think Flick was smart in deciding to start fresh and new. RF was a great idea. I prefer them over Zoo anyday.