Dance double to Merle Oberon

Dance · Film
A revealing story captured in a comprehensive oral history conducted for the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, in 2003, with George and Ethel Martin, the two great Jack Cole dancers. Ethel kicks it off, with a small assist from her husband. Ethel: Jack [Cole] told me, ‘I know Kenny [Williams]’. He was ...

Ann Miller, in KISS ME KATE 3-D, too darn hot! 1

Dance · Film
It was awfully fun, during TCM Fest 2015, to run into Jon Olivan who heads up the TCM Classic Movie Fan Club in Los Angeles. We mixed and mingled in Club TCM, sipping (complementary) Humphrey Bogart gin surrounded by Mike Kaplan’s great dance-movie posters exhibited in that lounge. Olivan shared a special memory of “Kiss ...

Dance critic’s TCM Fest 2015

Dance · Film
On the cusp of the sixth annual TCM Classic Film Festival set to open Thursday night in Hollywood, our dance-critic’s eye is finding at least two strong movie musical entries — with great cinematic dance. 42ND STREET (1933), Saturday March 28, 11:30 am “Naughty, gaudy, bawdy, sporty” 42ND STREET gets a facelift with the world premiere ...

Cleopatra enters Rome, courtesy of Hermes Pan 1

Dance · Film
Excerpted from John Franceschina’s recent Hermes Pan biography, On 10 May 1961, Pan worked out an agreement with [“Cleopatra” producer Walter] Wanger in which he would provide choreography for the film at $2,000 a week, guaranteed for no less than fifteen consecutive weeks. In addition, he was guaranteed credit as “Choreography by Hermes Pan” on ...

A royal Hollywood evening with Astaire & Travolta 1

Dance · Film
A Rat-Packy night in L.A. — so much royalty, show biz and more. The memorabilia comes from arts·meme pal Larry Billman, founder of the Academy of Dance on Film. From Larry’s photo archive, a groovy snapshot of cocktail hour preceding the 22nd annual ball of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences honoring Fred Astaire. ...

Book review: ‘Hermes Pan, The Man Who Danced with Fred Astaire’ 3

Dance · Film · Reviews
A book review first published by Dance Magazine [December 2012] Growing up in Memphis as the son of Greek immigrants, Hermes Pan (1909–1990) copped dance steps from the family’s African-American household help. Fast-forward to the Depression, when the self-taught Hollywood choreographer’s black-and-white dance fantasies for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers offered Americans escape. The versatile ...

Wherefore art thou, o Hollywood choreographer? 2

Dance · Film
[mouse over images for captions] Say you are a film producer, and you have a project that gets a green-light. There’s a dance sequence in the script and you need to hire a choreographer. Using the prime professional database of the film and television industry, IMDB Pro, you will be hard pressed to find one. ...