‘Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad’ with Barrie Chase in person 1

Film
It’s a macabre but nonetheless resolute fact — and it came directly, unprompted, from Chase, a friend of artsmeme (F.O.A.M.). (She is also one of artsmeme’s favorite subjects.) Barrie Chase, one of Hollywood’s most precious jewels as a dancer, now 90 and fit as a fiddle, admitted it herself. Speaking of It’s a Mad, Mad, ...

Splendid early film choreography by Jack Cole for ‘Kismet’ (MGM, 1944) 2

Dance · Film
This YouTube bundling of two lengthy harem numbers choreographed by Jack Cole for KISMET (MGM, 1944) displays the young choreographer’s mature grasp of his craft in staging, and in creating beautifull and unusual framing of dance for the eye of the camera. The first sequence has rare footage of The Kraft Sisters, in particular Beatrice ...

Ruth St. Denis sightings

Dance
miss ruth 1914 As time marches on, the figureheads of the 20th century dance fall from our reach. But a surprising number of dance devotees in Los Angeles had contact, however minimally, with the great modern-dance pioneer, Ruth St. Denis. Forever known as “Miss Ruth,” she spent her final decades in our city. First up ...

Dancer’s ploy for getting on Ed Sullivan Show

Dance
You want to dance on Ed Sullivan, right? So why not make a dance about … Ed Sullivan? The creators used this ultimate ploy to tickle a narcissist’s fancy and also entertain the public. This tidy dance number, which echoes Bob Fosse’s “Rich Man’s Frug” in many ways, is the work of two choreographers, Hal ...

‘I can’t dance,’ signals Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in ‘Being The Ricardos’ 2

Dance · Film
It’s no spoiler to share that in one scene of BEING THE RICARDOS, a cultural cataclysm heading our way December 10 in theatres and on Amazon PRIME, Nicole Kidman, as Lucille Ball, lets drop that her sexy boyfriend Desi Arnaz (Javiar Bardem) is going to teach her how to rumba. The embarrassing display that follows ...

Vera-Ellen’s teensy steak dinner recalled by dance coach

Dance · Film
chubby cheeks Turning the conversation to Vera-Ellen, I asked Joan Bayley who worked with the Hollywood dancer on White Christmas, if she was a nice girl. “Yes, she was,” replied Joan. “She was not an exciting personality, but she was friendly and sweet.” I expressed my opinion that Vera-Ellen’s dancing is not my favorite, as ...

Errol Flynn could dance, insists Julie Newmar 3

Dance · Film
Julie on set in gold head-to-toe makeup applied by makeup man Antole Robbins, Flynn observing at rear c. 1952 Beyond his many physical gifts that made him the most derring-do of screen actors to famously do his own stuntwork, the long-legged Aussie-born movie star, Erroll Flynn (1909-1959) could also dance. Who knew? It was a ...

Hollywood 1952: Jack Cole’s ethnic dance includes voodoo & waltz

Dance · Film
In the summer and fall of 1951, the dance maker Jack Cole undertook two major new choreographies, one each at the two leading film studios of the era. He staged and danced the lead role in a voodoo ceremonial-rite for Lydia Bailey, at Twentieth Century Fox, and choreographed a sumptuous ‘grand valse’ for The Merry Widow ...

More on Alton’s ‘Choreography’ from WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954) 6

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 ...

‘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 ...