In Hines vs Davis, Sammy wins by decision in first round 3

The wonderful and charming Gregory Hines (1946-2003), try though he does in this touching dance-off, cannot out perform his idol, Sammy Davis, Jr. (1925-1990). The event took place soon before Davis died. Davis’s feathery touch on the floor is a revelation. Watch Hines watch Davis, 1:48 to 2:04. Watch him try to get in. Pure ...

Jack Cole invites you to a ball 4

Dance · Film
From MGM’s “The Merry Widow” (1952) Jack Cole’s beautifully calibrated waltz sequence pours forth. Minutes and minutes of on-screen dancing. Audiences apparently used to like this; I guess they don’t anymore.  Enjoy! Cole’s gigs at MGM were fewer then at Columbia or Fox (at MGM: Kismet twice: 1944, 1955, Les Girls 1957, Designing Woman 1957). ...

David Hallberg grew up obsessed by Fred Astaire

Studying tap dance as a kid, before he got proper shoes, says David Hallberg, “I taped nickels on the bottom of my penny loafers.” Hallberg explains this charmingly in a marvelous profile that aired today on CBS’s News’s  “Sunday Morning” program. The premier dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet and principal at American Ballet Theatre more ...

Michael Jackson visited Martha Graham studio 2

Dance · Music
“And then he’d have to go back to whatever he’d go back to. And it just went wrong. Who knows what happened?” Michael Jackson lived the life he lived. He navigated a tangle of destiny and choice, as do we all. Jackson was born into a certain family, a certain fate, and he was a ...

Chakiris, Tamblyn, Moreno cement their memories @ Grauman’s 1

Dance · Film · Theater
A touching trio of memories left behind at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on November 15, 2011, as three “West Side Story”‘ stars join the Hollywood ritual and deposit paws and hooves in cement. Long live the dancers! Like this? Read more: Enjoy arts·meme‘s “West Side Story” thread

Something’s coming … tonight at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, “West Side Story” 50th birthday party

Dance · Film
1961 marquee In a great American pas de deux, George Chakiris partners Rita Moreno in “Dance at the Gym.” Co-choreographer Peter Gennero added sizzle to Robbins’s choreography in this number, so says dance-in-film historian Larry Billman. Jerome Robbins smiles.   Thank you Lynn Becker and Doc Macro for the WSS images.

MJ dances 2

Dance · Music
When Michael Jackson died in June 2009, I was attending a three-week symposium for dance critics run by the National Endowment for the Arts at Duke University — an honor. This so-called dance criticism “Institute,” staged annually at the American Dance Festival, was think-tank focused on dance as an art form — geared for specialists ...

Genius. West Side Story.

Dance · Film · Music · Theater
Just in from seeing “West Side Story” projected on big screen — my first such viewing (big screen) since who knows when … or maybe ever. What a great movie. Robbins’s choreography is so stellar, so wicked, so spot-on and thrilling; it’s even scary —  in “Cool.” The “America” number on the rooftop, beyond brilliant. ...

Hollywood’s dance super-agent, Julie McDonald, to be honored 3

Dance · Film
Julie McDonald, on the right, hanging out with a cool kitty, Toni Basil, and a cool cat, Kenny Ortega, both stellar clients of her body shop. That would be McDonald Selznick Associates, the premier talent representation agency for dancers and choreographers in television, commercials, music videos and film. Julie and her partner, Tony Selznick, created ...

Fanchon’s Follies

[click photo for detail] Lovely ballet by Fanchon (1896-1965) nee Fanny Woolf, a vaudevillian and early Hollywood choreographer. I heard her name dropped during a talk about MGM studio where she apparently worked. Photo comes from the archive of Washington University. Fanchon & Marco website here. Another write-up here. Thank you University of Washington Libraries ...