Busy weekend for the arts in Pawhuska

Kathryn SwanJ-C Correspondent
Busy weekend for the arts in Pawhuska

For a small town, Pawhuska has a lot going on. The community has long supported athletics which is evident by the JC’s extensive coverage of youth activity. This past weekend, the historic Constantine Theater demonstrated that Pawhuska also supports the arts.


On Friday, the Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy held its first public recital to a packed house.

While I was unable to attend because Jim and I were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, an excited CAC Director Barbara Strahm brought me up to date on this incredible evening, saying “The outstanding program included eight of my Bible School students. There were eight dances with at least sixteen ballerinas. The program opened with a performance by the Academy’s youngest students. Ballet Direct Jena Smith, who choreographed ‘Wahzhazhe’ in 2012, also danced. The costuming was spectacular. Many of the dancers were quite talented. One, in particular, has the potential of becoming a professional dancer.”

CAC President Garrett Hartness added, “At the conclusion of the program, Smith’s students presented her with a beautiful ballet bronze that was purchased from the Osage County Historical Society’s Gift Shop.” Strahm said the recital continued to help the town’s economy as each performer was presented with a beautiful floral arrangement. Dance Maker Academy opened in September 2014 and offers ballet, tap and jazz dance classes to students of all ages and all levels of expertise. A non-profit company, Scholarships are available.


On Sunday, the historic Constantine presented a classic 1918 silent movie starring someone with ties to Pawhuska. Robert Gordon (Duncan) played the role of handsome Eric Hilgard in “Blue Blazes Rawden.” Gordon is the son of the late Charles Duncan, owner and builder of the Duncan Hotel.

Gordon was born in Belleville, Kansas, in 1895, and died in 1971 in Victorville, California. From 1917-1949, he starred in 35movies, including “Tom Sawyer” and “Huck and Tom.”

With all of today’s high technology, a silent movie is a unique experience. So, I invited my 9-year old granddaughter (Finley) and 12-year old Gentry Thorne to accompany me. Considering the innocence of the times (1917), I was anticipating a rather slap-stick type of movie. “Blue Blazes Rawden” was anything but slapstick.

The movie takes place at a remote Canadian hotel (and salon). Blue Blazes Rawden is a rough lumberjack who encounters an equally tough Englishman, Ladyfingers Hilgard. After Blazes beats Hilgard at cards and steals the heart of his woman (Babette Du Fresne), Hilgard challenges Blazes to a gunfight and is killed. Hilgard’s mother and 20-year old brother Eric (Robert Gordon) soon visit the hotel. Touched by Mrs. Hilgard’s gentle nature, Blazes tells her Hilgard died honorably. Angry at Blazes’ inattention, Babette tells Eric the truth. An enraged Eric shoots and seriously wounds Blazes. Blazes saves Eric from a lynch mob, makes him promise to never tell his mother the truth about his brother, and leaves town a reformed man.