‘Instead of dance, it’s choreography,’ gripes choreographer Robert Alton 1

Dance · Film
danny kaye, ‘choreography’ number from white christmas (1954) Danny Kaye, in the screenshot above, performs a send-up of Jack Cole‘s Hindu-Jazz in Robert Alton‘s “Choreography” number in WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954). The number is primarily a spoof on Martha Graham, and I imagine Kaye inserting this little fillip just for fun. Kaye worked extensively with Jack ...

Martha Graham, Rita Hayworth share bill in 1923 2

Dance · Theater
Astonishing discovery by artsmeme‘s Hollywood dance detective … [More Hollywood dance detective stories here!] Every student of dance history knows that Martha Graham danced in the Greenwich Village Follies of 1923, produced by John Murray Anderson, first in Sheridan Square in the Village and then on Broadway. Correct? Yes, correct. Graham, above, appeared in the ...

Toni Basil ‘does the Pony, does the James Brown’ on CBS

Dance · Film
We loved seeing Toni Basil, 76, doing the pony and the James Brown on CBS Sunday morning on Oscar Day 2020.

Merle Oberon’s terpsichorean trepidation 2

Dance · Film
For those who recently watched THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1934) on Turner Classic Movies, a special Jack Cole connection has come to mind from 86 years ago. (Making Jack Cole connections is the name of our game.) Our story involves the film’s glamorous stars, Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon. The duo, co-stars of “Pimpernel” (I just ...

Fred & Ginger (& Mark) do ‘The Continental’ 1

Dance · Film
mark sandrich, fred astaire do the continental, but not cheek to cheekphoto: MARC WANAMAKER/BISON ARCHIVES The wonderful shot of director Mark Sandrich and Fred Astaire palling around at RKO Studios comes courtesy of artsmeme friend Marc Wanamaker. Thank you, Marc! The director and dancer are collaborating on a crazy-long, Art Deco-drenched, epic dance sequence for ...

Clippings tour: ‘Dirty Dancing,’ original version 1

Dance · Film
42nd Street (1933) choreography by Busby Berkeley This month’s edition of “Dirty Dancing: The Original” dates to the 1930s. If you think the McCarthy era saw the birth of the Hollywood black list you got that wrong. A work ‘lock-out’ took place during the Depression when chorus girls did not (ahem) ‘put out’ — and ...

Gwen Verdon to critic: Don’t overlook my choreographer

Dance
Gwen Verdon, a woman with values, in a handwritten note from September 1958, mildly protests to Los Angeles Times film critic John L. Scott about a crazy oversight in his review of the film Damn Yankees. [Pause the slide show for easier reading.] Scott was sufficiently impressed by Verdon’s message that he saved the letter ...

How ‘Lola’ helped Bob Fosse handle Gwen’s ‘bad reputation’

Dance · Film
In a 1991 interview with Gwen Verdon on CUNY Television, the great Gwen describes her first encounter with Fosse as her choreographer for Damn Yankees. I had seen [Fosse] at MGM studios. We had met at a party that Michael Kidd gave. I had a reputation for being difficult … and I was. I was ...

Hardest hit on ‘White Christmas’ movie set? The dancers. 7

Dance · Film
The lyric may be “iconic,” but it’s also “ironic.” Robert Alton’s sumptuous dance duet, “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” a classy, flowing number for Vera-Ellen and Danny Kaye, in White Christmas (1954) reveals the choreographer’s signature moves. Alton [Easter Parade, There’s No Business Like Show Business, White Christmas] could move bodies around a ...

Ain’t there anyone here for love? Ladies, let’s do this! 1

Dance · Film
Okay, Messrs Weinstein, Schneiderman, R. Kelly, Richard Meier, Charlie Rose and the rest of you sexual predator power-guys! Formidable glamazon Marilyn Monroe, in Jack Cole’s “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” from GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953) wants to share her version of gender politics. A big boomerang of woman power heading your way, back at ...