Georgeous & Rita-licious

Dance · Fashion · Film
As Oscar Sunday approaches, we turn to the year when two beautiful young singer/dancers both won Academy Awards for West Side Story. George Chakiris and Rita Moreno, respective winners for Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role, appeared stunningly beautiful at the ceremony  April 9, 1962 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This is ...

The two Georges: Balanchine & Chakiris

Dance · Film
Okay, it’s a stretch! But bend-and-stretch is what dance is all about, isn’t it? Still, we were delighted to trip upon an amazing comparison, in a book review/essay by one of our premier dance writers, Joan Acocella. Publishing in The New Yorker magazine (“Balanchine Teaching” January 11, 2017), the critic/dance historian, in describing George Balanchine’s ...

Chita Rivera conquers Carnegie Hall

Dance · Music · Reviews · Theater
Holding court in her Carnegie Hall debut Monday evening, Broadway legend Chita Rivera gave gobs of pleasure and a pre-election-day boost to a very well-sold house. Prior to the show, a good many attendees swarmed the 57th Street sidewalk in anticipation of a special evening. In a solo showcase that got by with a little ...

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 ...

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 ...

Royal Swedish Ballet’s stunning, unconventional ‘Juliet and Romeo’ soon @ Segerstrom

Dance
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With a history that stretches back to 1773, you’d expect the esteemed Royal Swedish Ballet to offer a “Romeo and Juliet” full of swordplay and courtly gowns.  But no — not when master choreographer Mats Ek is in charge. He reimagined the tragic love story in 2013 with the same urban, gritty edge that he’s ...

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

Film
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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 ...