Jerome Robbins, in 1947 the king of high/low art

Dance
In this photo dated September 7, 1947, choreographer Jerome Robbins coaches chorus kids in ballet. He’s preparing dancers for “High Button Shoes” [music Jule Styne, lyrics Sammy Cahn, book Stephen Longstreet, direction George Abbott, choreography Jerome Robbins]. The show opened October 9 1947 at the Century Theatre on Broadway, then moved to London’s West End ...

Shtetl soul to rock citywide Laemmle Theatre “Fiddler” screenings 1

Dance · Film
On view here Jerome Robbins’s great “bottle dance” rising in a cloud of soulful Jewish peasant-dust at the wedding ‘banquet’ of Tzeitel and Motel. Apropos this brilliant dance number — for this dance critic the indelible imprint of director Norman Jewison’s surprisingly powerful visual recreation of the Eastern European world of the ‘shtetl’ Jews — ...

George Chakiris in double NYC honor: first MoMA, then Juilliard

Dance · Film
In fitting recognition of a great dancer whose searing, Oscar-winning performance as “Bernardo” in “West Side Story” was filmed on NYC’s Upper West Side terrain where the Juilliard School now stands, George Chakiris will visit the renowned conservatory for an interview and dance conversation. Location shooting of the playground sequences that open “West Side Story” ...

Story of Tanaquil

Dance · Film
We are so looking forward to Dance Camera West‘s special screening of “Afternoon of a Faun” at the Aero Theatre next Thursday evening, co-presented with the American Cinematheque. I will be interviewing Nancy Buirski, the documentary film’s director, after the screening. It portends to be an amazing event, mixing and matching a crowd of dance ...

Gang warfare quelled by dancer love — backstage at Miami City Ballet 3

Dance · Film
On stage, it was “The Jets are gonna have their way …  tonight.” It was the premiere of Jerome Robbins‘s “West Side Story Suite” at Miami City Ballet. A big tangle of tension, gang hatred, rumble, and knife-fight. But backstage, a cross-generational love fest took hold, as George Chakiris, the iconic Sharks gang-leader, now retired, ...

A rumble, with love, at Miami City Ballet 2

Dance · Film
Valentine’s Day love continues to take new and different forms. This year, February 14, 2014, in serendipitous Miami, Florida, a love connection of a special sort occurred at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. It was a backstage visit by Oscar-winning dancer/actor George Chakiris following Miami City Ballet’s premiere performance of “West Side ...

West Side Story’s George Chakiris to host Miami City Ballet gala 4

Dance · Film
The distinction — true, false or otherwise — between so-called commercial dancers and those of the “concert” dance world will be breached February 14, 2014, when George Chakiris, “Bernardo” in WEST SIDE STORY (1961), hosts a gala to benefit Miami City Ballet, one of the nation’s leading classical ballet companies. Chakiris, who began his long ...

George Chakiris chats about career — in the Los Angeles Times 1

Dance · Film
“Gracious Dance” Los Angeles Times, Nov 11, 2013 An excerpt from Susan King’s article here: “It was groundbreaking choreographer-director Jerome Robbins who gave Chakiris his first big break when he cast him as Riff, the leader of the Jets, in the London stage production of “West Side Story.” Years later, Robert Wise, who co-directed the ...

Chakiris, a cut above the rest 1

Dance · Film · Theater
The camera catches a gang of gypsies rehearsing, in 1958, at New York’s Winter Garden theater before shipping overseas to perform in West Side Story’s second cast in London. Front and center is “West Side”s choreographer Jerome Robbins, running the “Cool” number with its inimitable finger snaps. Foremost in this group, a cut above the ...

Jonathan Lynn rules comedy

Language & ideas · Theater
“Laughter is the sound of recognition,” says the author of the book Comedy Rules, Jonathan Lynn. The veteran filmmaker, novelist, screenwriter, and director co-wrote, along with Sir Antony Jay, Yes, Prime Minister, the former hit BBC television series now restaged as theater at the Geffen Playhouse. “When people recognize the truth of something they have ...