Jerome Robbins, in 1947 the king of high/low art

Dance
In this photo dated September 7, 1947, choreographer Jerome Robbins coaches chorus kids in ballet. He’s preparing dancers for “High Button Shoes” [music Jule Styne, lyrics Sammy Cahn, book Stephen Longstreet, direction George Abbott, choreography Jerome Robbins]. The show opened October 9 1947 at the Century Theatre on Broadway, then moved to London’s West End ...

‘Kinetic Los Angeles’ heralds impact of Russian ballet in California

Dance · Language & ideas
This startling and marvelous image of a ballerina garbed in an unprecedented and surely unreplicated costume graces the cover of “Kinetic Los Angeles: Russian Emigres in the City of Self-Transformation.” The journal, the 20th edition of the esteemed “Experiment,” has just been published by the Institute of Modern Russian Culture at the University of Southern ...

Mitchell Leisen’s first design project? A costume for Martha Graham!

Dance · Film
Los Angeles has long been an arts beehive, dating back to the 1910s when modern-dance goddess Martha Graham and film director Mitchell Leisen converged here. We enjoyed receiving this amazing Los Angeles dance-film anecdote from Norton Owen, a friend of arts·meme and the Director of Preservation at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Writes Norton: I am ...

Jack Cole’s arm coaches Rita Hayworth in “Amado Mio” from GILDA

Dance · Fashion · Film
For the longest time, we have wondered whether the great choreographer Jack Cole (born in New Brunswick New Jersey, he got his start as a barefoot Denishawn [modern] dancer) worked with Rita Hayworth on her Latin-dance number, “Amado Mio” from GILDA (1946). That choreography would be above and beyond his well-acknowledged creation of Rita’s seminal, ...

Mitzi Gaynor to “go on with the show!” @ “There’s No Business … ” screening

Dance · Film
We are so looking forward to big screen viewing, on its 60th anniversary, of 20th Century-Fox’s star-studded Cinemascope colossus, THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS (1954) next Tuesday, Dec 9 at the Regent Theater. [Everything you ever wanted to know about “There’s No Business” on this amazing webpage… ] The musical, chock filled with great ...

Anna Pavlova visits Hollywood 3

Dance · Film
It was standard practice at Universal Studios in the silent film era to have observers on the set. We wrote about this in a previous post. One movie star proved the exception to this rule. Not an actor, but a dancer. And not just any dancer, but ballet’s first superstar, Anna Pavlova, the great globe-trotting ballerina ...