Jack Cole rocks Rita Hayworth’s world in “Tonight and Every Night” (1945) 1

Dance · Film

The ditty she sings is inane (remember, it was the War!) and the costume is not her greatest.

But Rita Hayworth does her thing prettily enough. Life changes when a monster-dancer joins her on stage — Jack Cole.

Choreographers: Pay attention @ 1:43.  That is how to make an entrance — sliding in on your knees!

Jack Cole from 2:32 to 3:06 is as good as it gets. He exhibits top-drawer, monster dance technique.

Notice how Cole never fully stands up? He’s kind of crouching (in dance terms he is moving in plié, with bent knees). And he’s doing it more consistently than anyone else on the stage. Observations:

  • It’s very difficult to dance like that. 
  • Cole also hunches his upper back consistently. The guy was amazing at hitting, and holding, shapes. Jack Cole could certainly dance with his back fully erect; this is a choreographic choice.
  • The low-to-the-ground work reflects Cole’s modern dance roots. It also reflects the jitterbug moves Cole picked up from dancing with ladies like Marie Bryant at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom. 

Tonight and Every Night is a very fun, watchable movie; a backstage drama, it’s full of dance. The marvelous Marc Platt, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo ballet dancer, has a speaking role in “Tonight” and he dances as well — brilliantly. 

What a coincidence, Jerome Robbins’s sailor ballet “Fancy Free,” which led to On the Town (1949) and made possible all kinds of Americanisms in classical ballet, dates from 1944. Who copied whom?  

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One comment on “Jack Cole rocks Rita Hayworth’s world in “Tonight and Every Night” (1945)

  1. Lew Thomas Feb 9,2012 12:19 am

    Interesting that Cole dances as if he didn’t have a partner. His use of space highlights the star, and Hayworth takes on the lead. Jack had a fantastic feel for staging, and in this case, it was the rapport between the male dancer and his ROLE (partnering) rather than an attempt to show interest in the girl.

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