Gypsy dancer shop-talk at the Academy

Dance · Film
It was an occasion for dance-chatter the other evening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. A highly vaunted circle, including veteran gypsy dancers, a choreographer for the camera, and even an Oscar-winning actor, gathered at AMPAS prior to a screening of “West Side Story” Monday July 18, 2016. In the picture, Maria ...

‘West Side Story’ feted, dissected, appreciated at the Academy

Dance · Film
Fascinating film lore revealed by producer Walter Mirisch, at Monday’s panel discussion prior to a special screening of West Side Story (1961) at the Academy. Apparently Jerome Robbins, WSS’s creator/co-director, was extremely resistant to the location shooting, in New York City, of the “Prologue” — the movie’s brilliant opening minutes when an overhead shot drills into ...

Jets & Sharks rumble @ Laemmle Anniversary Classics WSS screening

Dance · Film
A great evening on Wednesday when film critic Stephen Farber interviewed Russ Tamblyn (“Riff”) at a 55th anniversary screening of “West Side Story” before a very full house at the Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts Theatre. A slew of dance royalty attended the screening: Dancer Bobby Banas (“Joyboy” in the movie), Barrie Chase of Fred Astaire ...

Be the swingin’est thing. Be a Jet … @ Laemmle Anniversary Classics

Dance · Film · Theater
The film version of the legendary, game-changing Broadway musical was released 55 years ago, in 1961. arts•meme’s Debra Levine will offer opening remarks to the the movie at this week’s Anniversary Classics screening in Beverly Hills. Levine will share her dance appreciation of the musical’s creator and movie co-director, choreographer Jerome Robbins. She will also ...

The Jacksons bring joy to ‘Enjoy Yourself’

Dance · Music
So beautiful, in viewing Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off the Wall, Spike Lee’s documentary now available on Showtime, the sight of MJ au natural, his face unmarred by surgery, his youthful and impassioned spirit intact. The doc tours the great Quincy Jones-produced album “Off the Wall” with superb talking heads.  This video by ...

We love Hollywood ballet

Dance · Film
‘Normal’ ballet is so boring: Petipa, Balanchine, Tudor, Robbins, Ratmansky.  Those guys never put girls in pointe shoes on pianos. We prefer fancy, Hollywood-style ballet, like this photo from KING OF JAZZ (1930) made at Universal Pictures and featuring dancing by Russell Markert dancers (Markert, who, not surprisingly, founded the Rockettes, is listed as the ...

Remembering Mia Slavenska

Dance · Film
This simply spectacular photo memorializes a tremendous dancer of the twentieth century, the great Croatia-born prima ballerina Mia Slavenska. The rock solid legs, the startling physical intensity, the blazing eyes, all Slavenska. Following her career with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Slavenska’s long and winding road led, in the 1970s, to teaching classical ballet ...

Fred of our dreams

Dance · Film
From our friends at Julien Auctions, a pair of black-and-white silver gelatin prints of Fred Astaire taken by Andre de Dienes circa 1938. Both hand printed by de Dienes on double-weight paper and stamped by the photographer on verso. Sold at auction March 28, 2016.

Pre-tax pleasure: ‘Starring George Chakiris’ April 14

Dance · Film
We’re fans and we’re friends. That’s why we are so pleased that Turner Classic Movies is showcasing the creative output of actor/dancer/singer George Chakiris, whose triple-threat talent and smoldering good looks were made for the movies. Though a huge teen heartthrob in the sixties, Chakiris was often cast as a dark figure, famously in WEST ...

Denishawn could not hold her down, Louise Brooks

Dance · Film
Actress/dancer/flapper-provocateuse Louise Brooks made her Denishawn company debut in 1922, when the company had already relocated from Los Angeles to New York. Brooks was shown the door by company matriarch Ruth St. Denis and after playing dozens of bit parts in Hollywood movies, hit it big as bad-woman “Lulu” in G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box in ...