Happy birthday, Barrie Chase! 1

Dance · Film
Wishing a wonderful birthday to a leggy lady, the great Hollywood dancer Barrie Chase. She not only graced Fred Astaire as his final partner, she brought her own strong, vixen presence as a solo dancer (on view in the video, dancing to “The Girl from Ipanema”) to millions of American television viewers in the 1960s. ...

Review: ballerina Wendy Whelan in new documentary 1

Dance · Film
We all have problems, right? In the case of Wendy Whelan, the equivalent of a prima ballerina assoluta if only New York City Ballet had that designation, the problem in dance season 2013-14 was how to gracefully exit the stage and transition to civilian life. For thirty years, the reed-thin, Kentucky-born ballet-thoroughbred reigned as the ...

Looks amazing: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s ‘Babel(words)’@ Lincoln Center 2

Dance · Language & ideas
I’m interested — who isn’t? — in the changing ways in which society is communicating. And I wonder how dance can play an active role as, increasingly, words matter less and the visual (and visceral) matters more. (A very wise man recently told us, “It’s just words.”) So I’m looking forward to “Babel(words),” a new ...

Jack Cole’s nightclub act: a talk by Debra Levine Oct 25

Dance · Language & ideas
A review headline screamed, “Cyclone Hits Slapsy Maxie’s.” The performance?  Jack Cole and His Dancers at the Wilshire Boulevard supper club in 1948. In the house: Frank Sinatra, Robert Walker, Jimmy Durante, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Jimmy Dorsey, Max Baer. Also attending, according to the review, “Bullets Durgom still without a toupee.” Cole ...

Bolshoi means BIG

Dance · Film · Language & ideas
Travel back to the Roaring ’20s in Europe with “The Golden Age,” broadcast live from Moscow and danced by the Bolshoi Ballet to music by Dmitri Shostakovich and choreography by Yuri Grigorovich. A stunning cabaret dancer must choose between her love for a visiting fisherman and the leader of a gang, who is also her ...

Women of post-modern dance perform ‘on Broadway’

Dance
New York’s Broadway, just like Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, is a long street. But it’s a noble performance address. I’m looking forward, this weekend, to visiting the southern portion of Broadway in SoHo. It’s WeisAcres, the loft of Cathy Weis where Eva Karczag & Vicky Shick will perform “your blue is my purple.” Shick ...

Why and when Ethel Martin started wearing hats

Dance · Theater
Yet another delicious show-business nugget from the plain-spoken Jack Cole dancer Ethel Martin, courtesy of the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts: So out of working for Jack [Cole] at the Casa [the Casa Manana, Billy Rose’s night club] , Jack held auditions for Something for the Boys. He took me. He didn’t ...

‘Showgirl’ dances once more, at Film Forum

Dance · Film
In 1928 Alice White, First National Pictures’ blonde answer to Clara Bow, starred in the movie musical Show Girl. She plays Dixie Dugan, an aspiring dancer who fakes her own kidnapping as a publicity stunt. Based on popular writer J.P. McEvoy’s Dixie Dugan character, Show Girl was the first starring vehicle for White. Long thought ...

Frolic the Hall of Mirrors with Louis XIV in “Versailles”

Architecture & Design · Dance · Fashion · Film
In the dance world, we know King Louis XIV for his balletomania, which led to the first formal classical ballet, “Le Ballet de la Nuit.” Louis himself danced the lead role, embodying a character modestly called ‘The Sun King.’ (As Mel Brooks sagely noted, it’s good to be king.) A reenactment of the performance appears ...

Looking forward: Pam Tanowitz Dance at the Joyce Theater

Dance
I like this skulking posture from “Once With Me,” a dance that had its premiere this past May in Buenos Aires. The dancers are stepping out, aren’t they? Only their heads remain, tucked back, with guilt? reluctance? shyness? Lots of mixed messages in their body language. The choreographer, Pam Tanowitz, who is my fellow Fellow ...