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 ...

Choreographer Alan Johnson takes center stage!

Dance · Film
On a delicious Saturday afternoon last September, a bunch of dance devotees gathered at The Paley Center for Media to fete one of their own: the witty, prolific, tart-tongued choreographer Alan Johnson, an industry veteran of theater, nightclub, television, cinema and any-dance for the camera. “I had been thinking lately [about my career] wondering, ‘What ...

Who was Sally Forrest? Let’s watch her dance. 2

Dance · Film
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Katherine Sally Feeney, the daughter of amateur ballroom dancing parents, was born on May 28, 1928. Her father, Michael Feeney, a U.S. Navy career man moved his family to various naval bases, finally settling in San Diego where little Sally was born and began dance classes with Marguerite Ellicott at the age of 12. “Miss ...

George Chakiris, Sally Forrest perform “Night and Day” in 1956

Dance
At Saturday’s “An Evening with George Chakiris,” at UCLA Film & Television Archive, we enjoyed footage of a vintage live television broadcast, “CBS ‘Ford Star Jubilee: You’re the Top, A Salute to Cole Porter'” which aired on October 6, 1956. Among other great entertainers on the 90-minute live broadcast (Louis Armstrong, Dolores Grey, Shirley Jones, ...

Rod Alexander’s “The Birth of the Blues” dance number rediscovered 3

Dance · Film
Please, please God, don’t let the world blow up before Sunday night. Because Sunday night at 9 pm, I get to see choreographer Rod Alexander‘s brilliant dance number, “The Birth of the Blues” from THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE (20th Century-Fox 1956), at CINECON Classic Film Festival — in a new 35mm print, ...

Oscar was a dancer 2

Dance · Film
This amusing photo of Oscar-winning dancer George Chakiris (Best Actor in a Supporting Role, “West Side Story,” 1962) and dance critic Debra Levine taken by Dana Ross last Saturday night at “Oscars Outdoors” sparked an email from Hollywood dance expert Larry Billman. Writes Larry, “The “original Oscar” was a dancer named Emilio Ferandez who modeled ...

Gene Kelly’s witty number in “It’s Always Fair Weather” 3

Dance · Film
We enjoyed watching Illeana Douglas host “It’s Always Fair Weather” (MGM, 1955, dir: Stanley Donen) recently on Turner Classic Movies. The song-and-dance number in the video above, Thanks a Lot, But No Thanks, bears so much influence of Jack Cole (he, too, worked with Gray, coaching the non-dancer in “Kismet” and “Designing Woman,” both at ...

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. ...

Matt (Harold Henry) Mattox, memorialized 1

Dance · Film · Theater
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MATT (Harold Henry) MATTOX b. Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, August 18, 1921 d. Perpignan, France, February 18, 2013 “I’ve never classified myself as a jazz teacher, I prefer to talk about ‘free-style dancing,’ which means I have a choice of movement for any piece of music,” said Mattox in a 1993 interview. To prepare for his ...

Jack Cole, superlative night club dancer, 1940s

Dance
Photo of Jack Cole costumed for his seminal night club number, Wedding of a Solid Sender (photo by Maurice Seymour). Like so much related to Cole, the pose is spectacular and unique. What other dancer would opt for this unusual, asymmetric position? Everything about Cole was modern and out of the box. Jack Cole photo, ...