Ruth St. Denis in the Valley 3

Dance
Above, Miss Ruth, as part of a newspaper feature story on elderly fitness, strikes a Denishawn pose for a photographer. Verso text: “Pictured are Frankie Van, owner of Frankie Van’s Health Club, 3717 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Studio City, along with famous modern dancer Ruth St. Denis. Ms. Denis once lived in the Valley and operated ...

Dance across the Pacific Isles with ‘Cinerama South Seas Adventure’

Dance · Film
A cruise ship wending it way across the South Pacific, with visits to Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga and Fiji, includes a film crew shooting footage of native culture. Camera-captured in 1958 in “Cinerama South Sea Adventure,” it sounds pretty colorful, doesn’t it? Now a legendary travelogue, “South Sea,” one of the great exercises in wide-screen projection ...

Fosse unfurled

Dance
A true magnum opus, arts·meme contributor Larry Billman‘s authoritative essay on choreographer Bob Fosse written in 2012 for the Dance Heritage Coalition‘s “100 American Dance Treasures” series. Read it here. American dancer and choreographer Bob Fosse (1927 – 1987) works out routines alone at the Broadway Arts Studio (1755 Broadway at 55th Street), New York, January ...

This was Denishawn

Dance
We’re looking forward to spending an evening  — picnic and free music concert — at outdoor-amphitheater Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles in MacArthur Park on June 12. Does everyone know the rich dance history of that neighborhood, whose prior name “Westlake” derived from the beautiful urban lake that the park surrounds? Read this, first, from the ...

Ravishing dance-film journey to Havana

Dance · Film · Reviews
“Dancing for My Havana,” an Italian/Cuban co-production written and directed by Claudio Del Punta, has garnered the Special Jury Prize of the Dance Camera West festival 2015. The film, a colorful wonderland set in Havana’s romantic urban ruins, tells a love story interpersed with sensational dance numbers that give a rare glimpse into unadulterated Cuban ...

Cyd Charisse at the ballet barre, in full flush of Technicolor

Dance · Film
In opening moments of director Henry Koster’s The Unfinished Dance (1947), the audience gets the distinct pleasure of peering in as ballerina Mlle Bouchet (Cyd Charisse) does her daily warm-up. The gorgeous burnt-yellow tutu Cyd wears is the vision of costume designer Helen Rose. The color-saturated image — the yellow costume, Cyd’s red-red lipstick against ...

Technicolor rapture of THE UNFINISHED DANCE

Dance · Fashion · Film
This hallucinogenic slice of celluloid captures Cyd Charisse, playing prima ballerina Mlle Bouchet, in director Henry Koster’s movie-tour of the world of ballet neurosis, THE UNFINISHED DANCE. Here Cyd performs a balletic “combré,” a deep back-bend, at the barre. The movie, made at MGM in 1947, starred child actor Margaret O’Brien. It’s a ballet soap ...

Dance Camera West to spool classic ballet flick, “The Unfinished Dance”

Dance · Film
Everything is beautiful at the ballet. Except at the movies. In the movies, for some confounded reason, the world of pretty-in-pink turns blood red. It’s a parade of backstage drama awash in envy, rage, depression, jealousy, backstabbing, unkindness — and that’s just the light stuff. At worst, there are full-on murderous attacks, vengeful fits and ...

George Chakiris brings “West Side Story” to the wild west

Dance · Film
Just returned from a wonderful screening of the majestic movie musical from 1961, “West Side Story,” seen in an unusual setting, The Ellen Theatre, a rare, preserved vaudeville theater in Bozeman, Montana. The movie’s Academy Award-winning star, the actor-singer-dancer George Chakiris, took part in a long interview and audience Q & A session. The enthusiastic ...

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 ...