George Chakiris recalls ‘West Side Story’ filming 1

Dance · Film
“All of Jerry’s choreography in this film is dialogue. It’s feeling. It’s not just dance steps.” So said George Chakiris apropos the choreography of Jerome Robbins, during “A Conversation with George Chakiris” at The Ellen Theater in Bozeman, Montana, in 2015. Robbins personally cast Chakiris as Bernardo, leader of the Sharks gang, for West Side ...

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 ...

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 ...

Critic Stephen Farber’s TCM Fest 2016 movie round-up 1

Film
by 
The fun of the TCM Classic Film Festival [arts•meme has covered since 2010] is the sheer range of offerings, from obscure rarities to Oscar-anointed hits. Three of my favorite events from this year’s festival featured memorable guest appearances. The Yearling was shown in a magnificent 35mm print from The George Eastman House. Not all studio ...

Jack Cole, Jerry Robbins put dancing sailors into the zeitgeist, 1944-5

Dance · Film
The war was just over — September 2, 1945. The streets of the nation, especially the big cities like New York and Los Angeles, had been teeming with military men. So it’s not that unusual that choreographers were putting these figures into their dances. And yet, it’s odd, isn’t it, that a trio of sailors ...

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 ...

Shtetl soul to rock citywide Laemmle Theatre “Fiddler” screenings 1

Dance · Film
On view here Jerome Robbins’s great “bottle dance” rising in a cloud of soulful Jewish peasant-dust at the wedding ‘banquet’ of Tzeitel and Motel. Apropos this brilliant dance number — for this dance critic the indelible imprint of director Norman Jewison’s surprisingly powerful visual recreation of the Eastern European world of the ‘shtetl’ Jews — ...

George Chakiris in double NYC honor: first MoMA, then Juilliard

Dance · Film
In fitting recognition of a great dancer whose searing, Oscar-winning performance as “Bernardo” in “West Side Story” was filmed on NYC’s Upper West Side terrain where the Juilliard School now stands, George Chakiris will visit the renowned conservatory for an interview and dance conversation. Location shooting of the playground sequences that open “West Side Story” ...

Story of Tanaquil

Dance · Film
We are so looking forward to Dance Camera West‘s special screening of “Afternoon of a Faun” at the Aero Theatre next Thursday evening, co-presented with the American Cinematheque. I will be interviewing Nancy Buirski, the documentary film’s director, after the screening. It portends to be an amazing event, mixing and matching a crowd of dance ...