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 ...

Ballet & blistering jazz-dance collide in Paris

Dance
Youtube, you’ve done it again! And again and again. That’s how many times I have watched this wonderful newsreel clip, clearly an excerpt from a longer British Pathe story concerning … la danse. It takes place in Paris, which is always an excellent start. The cameraman seems be following a haughty prima ballerina, Ludmilla Tcherina, ...

Show some respect! for Martha Graham … and Jack Cole 5

Dance
I was intrigued to learn, while doing research, that Jack Cole, a great dance pedagogue, instructed his pupils as follows: “Jack asked us to stand when he entered the dance studio, like Martha Graham‘s students,” one of Cole’s late-life students at UCLA told me in an interview. Cole was long an admirer of Graham with ...

‘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 ...

Review: Blue13 Dance Company hits home run at The Wallis 2

Dance · Reviews
Blue13 Dance Company “Diya aurToofan” photo credit: Kevin Parry for The Wallis Last night’s boffo showcase by the 15-year-old Blue13 Dance Company brought great pleasure, including a former secret now in plain sight thanks to presentation by The Wallis: the presence of a real choreographer in our midst. Achinta McDaniel, American-born of Indian descent, along ...

Before ‘Redhead’: ‘Gentlemen Chase Redheads’

Dance · Theater
gwen verdon, richard kiley, stars of ‘redhead‘ She starred, in a peak moment of her Broadway fame, in the Tony Award-winning musical, Redhead, which opened at the 46th Street Theater on February 5, 1959. Her director/choreographer was Mr. Fosse. courtesy of verdon-fosse legacy The show, a murder mystery in the vein of KNIVES OUT but ...

Merle Oberon’s terpsichorean trepidation 4

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 ...

Thank you, Robert Evans, for ‘Serpico’ scene at Lewisohn Stadium

Architecture & Design · Dance
In this snippet from Serpico (1973), fellow cops Tony Roberts and Al Pacino haggle in the eerie ghost town of a grand structure where so much New York art and culture — famously, summer concerts by the New York Philharmonic — met an avid audience. It’s the 8,000-seat-capacity Lewisohn Stadium on the campus of City ...

‘Judy was not nasal,’ says vocal coach Bob Garrett

Film · Music
Does Zellweger, at right, convey Garland’s physical stance to your eye? Garland kept her body taut to channel her breath. Also, note the shape of Renee’s mouth. Drop that jaw, sister! Viewing the big new biopic, JUDY, which opens tomorrow in cinemas, I did not feel that Renee Zellweger caught the great Garland’s essence particularly ...

Dig it! Betty Grable in ‘Diga Diga Do’ 1

Dance · Film
A fabulous YouTube find, a compendium of song-and-dance numbers performed by Betty Grable, in 1954, during a live television broadcast: the premier edition of Chrysler “Shower of Stars” on CBS. Opening the video is Grable in a sizzling demonstration of how song and dance were integrated during the period — in “Diga Do,” a specialty ...