Jack Cole’s “Down to Earth” recast as Kenny Ortega’s “Xanadu”

Dance · Film
I like this freewheeling, highly cinematic dance number for nine women, “I’m Alive,” choreographed by Kenny Ortega for Xanadu (1980). Its hyper-realism, fresh swapping of perspective, and other charming trickery prove what the camera can do with dance that’s not possible on stage. Smooth editing and special effects enhance the number. “I’m Alive” and the ...

Reading tap 1

Dance · Film · Language & ideas · Reviews
by 
Dancing, like writing, is a craft before it is an art. Rare is the professional who excels at both; the thousands of hours of practice necessary to make an artist rarely allow time for rigorous training in another genre. Somewhere between the craft and the art, though, lie scholarship and criticism, and the world is ...

Jack Cole’s pinnacle, “Ladies in Waiting” 3

Dance · Film
Mitzi Gaynor, at right above, in a sotto voce-hiss to Kay Kendall in Jack Cole‘s brilliant “Ladies in Waiting” dance sequence from LES GIRLS (MGM, 1957), delivers bad news. Kendall will soon be exposed as a chorus dancer to her fiancé and his proper family. The number, full of drama both comic and tragic, uses ...

Historic Jack Cole film retrospective to MoMA

Dance · Film
ALL THAT JACK (COLE) celebrating a great Hollywood choreographer 18-film retrospective/interviews/talks coming to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY Jan 20 – Feb 4 2016 save the dates – film listings in december

Jack Cole’s precious “Ain’t Misbehavin'” from GENTLEMEN MARRY BRUNETTES (1955)

Dance · Film
In which Cole first slows the Fats Waller song to a snail’s pace for Alan Young to sing, then ramps it up, to a jungle beat, spewing forth his love of African dance.

Bicoastal Jack Cole cross-fertilizes crazy hair Broadway-to-Hollywood

Dance · Fashion · Film
Actress Joan Diener, featured on Broadway in Kismet (1953 – 1955) shares a crazy-hair look with Betty Grable, pictured below in “Down Boy” from Three for the Show (1955, Columbia Pictures). Jack Cole, who choreographed (first) Kismet then the movie, took great care with the appearance of the women with whom he worked. He also ...

Fred, seriously

Dance · Film
Hollywood’s great dancing man, always jolly and carefree, here displays a different aspect. Fred Astaire in a somber mode, in Stanley Kramer’s ON THE BEACH (1959). Photo credit: theroadshowversion.com

Thank you, Gene Allen

Dance · Film · Visual arts
Saddened to learn today that the great Hollywood art director Gene Allen, the man who converted director George Cukor’s vision to rich mise-en-scene, died October 7 of natural causes in Newport Beach. Allen, who lived a long life, perished at 97. Yes, Gene Allen, the much hallowed Academy Award-winning art director of MY FAIR LADY ...

Jack Cole choreography for GILDA set to sizzle on UCLA Film Archive big screen 1

Dance · Film
Do you enjoy this classic image of Rita Hayworth as GILDA? It’s a capture from  Hayworth’s iconic high-end striptease, “Put the Blame on Mame,” choreographed by Jack Cole, the brilliant dance maker who rocked Hayworth’s world at Columbia Pictures in the 1940s. Cole’s dance numbers (“Put the Blame on Mame,” “Amado Mio“), taken together, raise ...

Eugene Loring coaches Daniel Levans as “Billy the Kid”

Dance
Ever wonder what ballet coaching does? Above, Eugene Loring (right), choreographer of “Billy the Kid” and ballet master of the American School of Dance on Hollywood Boulevard as well as founder of the dance department at UC Irvine, coaches Daniel Levans in a 1973 re-staging of his work. (Levans, sadly, just passed away.) John Kriza, ...