It was following this time in London that Frans and Muriel decided to open their own dance school back in Holland. They had a very definite reason for giving up the stage at that particular moment, even though, with Muriel only twenty-seven and Frans a couple of years older, they seem to have been at their physical peak.
In an article about his career [i], Frans says that at this time they ‘worked for six months’ (does he mean variously around England, or specifically at Grosvenor House?), and then continues: ‘but it was 1933. Hitler came to power, Murilova was Jewish and big agents didn’t want to take that risk [especially on the Continent, no doubt] … I said: “I’m going back to Holland to start a dancing school”. Murilova said: “I’ll go with you.” ’
So at some point in 1933 the two of them left the cabaret circuit and set up the Muriloff School of Stage Dancing in Amsterdam, where Frans and his family lived. The school appears to have been extremely successful over the six years of its joint tenure, the professional partnership between the two dancers evidently paying off. Frans says, ‘Murilova taught the children and picked out the talents for the shows. No problem.’ He doesn’t state his own particular teaching strength, but it seems they might have shared the choreography for these shows. At one period they were in high demand from professional dancers for classes in tap, which was then all the rage.
Muriel lived in an apartment in the studio building, and she can be seen in photos with Frans’ wife and his young son, who called her Auntie Muriel. In 1939, as Hitler’s forces approached and Jewish people were under threat, she was wise enough to flee to England, with, in her own dramatic words, just ‘two suitcases to my name’. Joining her mother and ‘Nan’ in Bournemouth, she made the rest of her life there.
Frans kept Muriel’s name and was known for the remainder of his long, rewarding life in the entertainment business as Frans Muriloff. His son is the ice skater Frans Muriloff Junior, and his grand-daughter Daphny also carries the name, the first in the family to be born a Muriloff. A great legacy for Muriel.
[i] Frans Muriloff (Schmitz); from his memoir article, kindly sent to me in translation by Daphny Muriloff