Hardest hit on ‘White Christmas’ movie set? Dancers. 2

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 ...

Michael Jackson could only spin to the left, said Donald McKayle

Dance · Music · Theater
Chatting in 2011 with the great Tony Award-winning choreographer Donald McKayle (Raisin, Sophisticated Ladies, Dr. Jazz), who passed away just last week, McKayle let drop that he had worked with Michael Jackson on two occasions. And he remembered one funny detail. “He taught himself to dance,” said McKayle. “He could spin only to the left.” ...

A smoking dance number! ‘Two Cigarettes in the Dark’

Dance · Film · Music
It was so much fun to receive this dance number (above) from our friend the pianist/performer Peter Mintun, a very niche expert in old-tyme American popular music — the stuff of cafe society. The lead tap dancer (unidentified) and chorines deliver performances that can best be described as ‘smoking.’ “Two Cigarettes in the Dark,” by ...

Politics? Paul Draper says it with his feet. 1

Dance · Language & ideas
Would that certain people would zip their lip — and tell it like the great tap dancer Paul Draper does in this footage from 1948. Draper, in that year, was on the cusp of being blacklisted in the reign of terror foisted on thinkers, artists and other creatives by the House Unamerican Activities Committee. In ...

A Jack Cole audition for KISMET (1944)

Dance · Film
The choreographer Jack Cole is most known for his Oriental dance numbers in KISMET (MGM, 1955) directed by Vincente Minnelli. But a decade prior, also at MGM, Cole choreographed KISMET (1944) starring the non-dancer, Marlene Dietrich. Dancer/ballet instructor Joan Bayley, who went on to become choreographer’s assistant to Robert Alton, auditioned for Cole as a ...

When Sally gave Marilyn (Monroe) her jazz pants 1

Dance · Fashion
You all remember when Harry met Sally. But what about when Sally (Goldin) gave Marilyn (Monroe) her pair of jazz pants? This happened! A jaw-dropping moment when Sally Goldin said, “I gave Marilyn a pair of my jazz pants.” Uh, okay, Sally. That Marilyn? You gave Marilyn Monroe your JAZZ PANTS?? “Oh, yes,” shot Sally ...

A ‘red-sock’ Valentine from Grover Dale … and Debbie Reynolds 3

Dance · Fashion · Film
A perfect post for St. Valentine’s Day is the ‘sock-in-the-jaw’ dancing Grover Dale delivers in “He’s My Friend,” choreographed by Peter Gennaro for The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). Dale is right on the money in this wonderful number. Gus Trikonis and Debbie Reynolds also excel, Debbie more than holding her own with the two dynamos ...

Google/YouTube Red streaming channel to launch with dance 2

Dance · Film
Ed. note: arts·meme is pleased to publish an excerpt from a story written for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences website, emmys.com.  The story concerns the premier of “Step Up: High Water” on the new YouTube Red streaming-video channel on Jan 31. ♣          ♣          ♣   ...

Anna Pavlova, Hollywood movie star

Dance · Film
Smart stuff! The Dumb Girl of Portici (1916) was Universal’s most expensive film to date and featured an enormous cast, large-scale sets, and an ambitious story. The film had a female director, Lois Weber. But it also had what way more movies need — Wendy Whelan, Misty Copeland, Darcey Bussell, listen up! — a prima ...