A ‘hands-on’ choreographer, Helen Tamiris

Dance
When I was a dance student, it was perfectly normal to be utterly terrified of certain instructors. But they didn’t often man-handle you. Two generations ago, however, this was not the case. A student of Jack Cole described him banging her head on the ground as she stretched on the floor in second position. Banging ...

More on Alton’s ‘Choreography’ from WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954) 2

Dance · Film
Above, an interesting shot of Vera-Ellen‘s “cute” entry into the Danny Kaye-starring “Choreography” number from WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954). You don’t see the dancer’s full descent in the final film. You just see her legs. Nor in the black-and-white photo is it possible to imagine the fuchsia color Vera-Ellen is wearing — a color made possible ...

Gabrielle Chanel: friend, patron, artisan of dance 4

Dance · Fashion
I was intrigued to receive a note concerning a new four-episode series from fashion house, CHANEL, entitled Gabrielle Chanel & the Arts. A new episode of the series, which spools on the CHANEL youtube channel, gives a whirlwind-but-witty overview of Gabrielle Chanel‘s personal and artistic connections with avant-garde ballet. At the turn of the 20th ...

Vail goes virtual

Dance
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Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet and New York City Ballet perform Alonzo King’s The Personal Element. Photo by Christopher Duggan. This is the year of the virtual summer festival. Staying in front of your computer, you can have a virtual Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow, Aspen Music Festival experience – and many more. One yearns to experience each ...

Use your ‘Baroque Bubble’ to protect from COVID

Dance
Is wearing a mask and washing your hands all day getting you down? Then pick up some social distancing tips-and-tricks from the 18th Century — and protect yourself from a decidedly 21st Century disease, COVID-19. Selective use of crazy Baroque dance gestures will careen those hovering around you a distance of six feet! The “Baroque ...

From darkness, a new dance film @ Dance on Camera virtual festival 2

Dance · Film · Reviews
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Peggy Baker was a memorably striking and unusual dancer during her years performing with Lar Lubovitch‘s company. Tall, powerful, seemingly gawky, with lashing limbs, she was never a pretty figure onstage, but more of an energized force field. After spending most of the 1980s with Lubovitch, she was invited to be part of the unique, ...

Shake it! Bump it! Wiggle that Thing in the privacy of your living room — with Toni Basil

Dance · Film
COVID classes for the non-contagious contingent The last time we checked out Toni Basil, it was, ahem, a different world. Seated at her dining room table, I interviewed the high-energy, hugely eccentric dancer/choreographer about her amazing contribution to the look, feel, sound and spirit of Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (2019). My ...

Best COVID-19 short video: Mark Morris Dance Group’s ‘Lonely Tango’

Dance · Film
It’s unclear whether Morris and his gang (MMDG) assembled this Ode to Isolation prior to the pandemic or thereafter. I *think* I see a face mask in the grocery-shopping sequence. But it’s not that important: The dead-and-deader spirit suits the moment well. This is a COVID-era-disseminated short video — utterly witty in its minimalist approach ...

Don’t just sit there … jive with your hands!

Dance · Film · Music
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Ed. note: We’re pleased to feature a fun item contributed by an expert in American popular dance, Julie Malnig. Take it away, Julie! The Hand Jive was one of the most popular rock and roll group dances of the late 1950s and became a hit on televised teen dance programs of the era such as ...

Show some respect! for Martha Graham … and Jack Cole 5

Dance
I was intrigued to learn, while doing research, that Jack Cole, a great dance pedagogue, instructed his pupils as follows: “Jack asked us to stand when he entered the dance studio, like Martha Graham‘s students,” one of Cole’s late-life students at UCLA told me in an interview. Cole was long an admirer of Graham with ...