Leaping Jerry Robbins

Dance
His birthday is over so it is back to business. To admire the work of Jerome Robbins (he is currently being deified, similar to Balanchine) is to stumble upon his borrowings, and lack of crediting of others. This is so sensitive — and it’s a difficult-to-discern thin line of how the artistic process happens. Again ...

Happy birthday, Jerry! Love, WSS kids

Dance · Film
When was the last time a film clip got a standing ovation? Well, it happened last night. The audience at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills erupted in appreciation after watching Rita Moreno and George Chakiris, on screen, kicking it to Leonard Bernstein’s thumping music and Stephen Sondheim’s wicked lyrics (all still ring ...

Danielle Darrieux fondly recalled 6

Dance · Film
Two young American actor/dancers, George Chakiris and Grover Dale, had a life changing experience when cast in director Jacques Demy’s quirky French take on the movie musical, “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” (1967, The Young Girls of Rochefort). Amidst a stellar ensemble cast (Michel Piccoli, Jacques Perrin, Gene Kelly) was a great treasure of French cinema, ...

Jack Jones: a lot of livin’ (and singin’) to do

Music
Frank Sinatra called Jack Jones, “one of the major singers of our time.” Mel Torme said he is “the greatest ‘pure’ singer in the world.” George Chakiris who himself recorded four memorable albums at Capitol Records recently said, “He has a wonderful voice and he never stopped working on it. The last time I saw ...

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 ...

The George & Barrie show at the Barn

Architecture & Design · Dance · Film
We call it “The Barn.” Only in Los Angeles could a barn occupy dead center of a huge city! It’s the home of Hollywood Heritage, the esteemed group of film aficionados who gather in the historic structure where Cecil B. DeMille and his partner, Jesse Lasky, shot Hollywood’s first feature film, “The Squaw Man” circa ...

‘Dance Masters’ Chakiris & Chase in ‘An Evening at the Barn’

Dance · Film
Two great dancers. Two beautiful people. Both with Los Angeles dance roots. Both gypsy dancers in the great decade of movie-musicals, the 1950s. Between them, their titles include: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, There’s No Business Like Show Business, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, Meet Me in Las Vegas, The I Don’t Care Girl, Daddy Long ...

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 a night of dance chatter at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. A highly vaunted circle, including veteran gypsy dancers, a choreographer for the camera, and an Oscar-winning actor, gathered at AMPAS prior to a screening of “West Side Story” Monday July 18, 2016. In the photo, Maria Jimenez, who danced ...