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Dance essayist and commentator P.W. Manchester flew to New York this weekend to collect her 1988 Dance Magazine award. Manchester is well-known to Utah's dance public, having come here every spring the past 17 years to teach dance history and vocabulary at the University of Utah.

She is on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.Though she teaches dance history, she doesn't think of herself as a historian. "I am more of an onlooker; I lived through the whole development of ballet in England," said Manchester, who stays with Enid Cosgriff when she is in Salt Lake City. "I read a lot and I have a good memory. I teach dance history to people who want to dance, and I think my strength as a critic and teacher is that I have loved dance, it has given me marvelous pleasure, and I want other people to share that pleasure."

Manchester's observations began when she was a girl in London, watching the progress of the Vic Wells Ballet, which developed into Sadlers Wells and then the Royal Ballet.

She began her career as dance critic for Theater World in London from 1941-43. In 1942 her book "Vic Wells: A Ballet Progress" was Britain's nonfiction best-seller. She collaborated in 1948 to publish "The Rose and the Star," a comparison of British and Soviet Ballet, and after a hitch as secretary to Marie Rambert and the Ballet Rambert, she edited the British dance journal Ballet Today (1946-51).

Manchester was then invited to America as guest editor of Dance News, a monthly newspaper, where she worked as managing editor and principal critic until 1969, and from 1962-64 was New York critic for the Christian Science Monitor.

With Anatole Chujoy, Manchester co-edited "The Dance Encyclopedia," a valued sourcebook. She still maintains national and international ties as a guest speaker, panelist, and occasional contributor to dance publications.

Such engagements have her still looking to the future. "I have been invited to England the end of May to speak at the 90th birthday celebration of Ninette de Valois, co-founder of the Vic Wells, who grew with the company right up to artistic director of the Royal Ballet. She resigned in 1963, but remains very active in guiding its destinies," said Manchester.

The Dance Magazine award will be presented at a public gathering in New York's Town Hall Monday night. Co-honorees with Manchester are Roman Jasinsky and Moscelyne Larkin, founders and co-artistic directors of the Tulsa Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet principal Kyra Nichols.

FOUR YOUNG UTAHNS two pianists and two violinists emerged with top honors from last week's Utah Symphony Youth Guild Competition.

Taking first place in the senior division was pianist Monte Caldwell, of Bountiful, this year's KSL-Deseret News Sterling Scholar in Music. He will receive $300 and a performance award. The $200 second prize went to pianist Angela Ede.

First prize of $200 and a performance in the junior division went to pianist Tamami Honma, Logan. The $100 first prize in the elementary division was divided between violinists Michael Okun and Natalie Terry.

Judges for the finals of this year's competition included Utah Symphony music director Joseph Silverstein, flutist Erich Graf, cellist J. Ryan Selberg and pianist Marjorie Janove. Winners are scheduled to perform on the orchestra's Christmas concerts next December.