Tag: dance history

Enrico Cecchetti: Creator of The Cecchetti Method, a Revolutionary Ballet Technique

Enrico Cecchetti created a ballet technique, still widely used today, known for two revolutionary ideas: first, that a dancer’s degree of turnout should be based on his or her normal rotation from the hips; second, that technique should be free of stylistic flourishes and instead focus on pure, strong movement. Cecchetti (1850–1928) was born in […]

Bob Fosse: The Choreographer Who Changed Broadway Jazz

From pigeon-toed stances and widespread palms to sinewy, meticulous isolations, few choreographers evoke such strong imagery as Bob Fosse (1927–1987). Not only did he revolutionize the look of musical theater in the 1950s–’80s, but his work also continues to influence choreographers and filmmakers today.  A Chicago native, Fosse came from a family of vaudeville performers. […]

History Quiz: Michael Bennett

Read up on Michael Bennett’s contributions to Broadway and more here, then test your students’ knowledge with this quiz!  1. How did Bennett model himself after Jerome Robbins? 2. What was the first Broadway show Bennett saw at age 11? 3. _______ was Bennett’s longtime collaborator. 4. Name a few Broadway shows Bennett directed and/or […]

He’s the One: Broadway Knight Michael Bennett

A dancer’s ornamentally unfurling arms and catlike spine develop under a spotlight. Alone in a dark, empty space, she watches her haloed dancing figure in a mirrored triptych, whose three panels resemble a church altar painting. In this iconic “Music and the Mirror” number of A Chorus Line, director Michael Bennett revealed a dancer’s private […]

Ann Miller: The Dancer With Million Dollar Legs

In the 1953 MGM movie Kiss Me Kate, Ann Miller (1923–2004) bursts into a production meeting between her actor boyfriend and composer Cole Porter, dazzling them with the number “Too Darn Hot.” Her machine-gun tap routine lets loose atop a coffee table; her mile-long legs are presented in all their glory as she towers over […]

Martha Graham: American Modern Dance Pioneer

One of the most influential choreographers of the 20th century, Martha Graham (1894–1991) helped lead the American modern dance revolution, breaking from the traditions of classical ballet as well as the romantic style of earlier modern dance pioneers. The Pennsylvania native came to dance relatively late: At 22 she began studying with Ruth St. Denis […]

Talley Beatty: One of Modern Dance’s First Black Choreographers

Before there was Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Revelations (1960) and its signature solo “I Want To Be Ready,” Talley Beatty (1918–1995) broke boundaries with his first ballet, Southern Landscape (1947). This five-section dance, inspired by Howard Fast’s Southern Reconstruction novel Freedom Road, and Beatty’s own experience with racial discrimination, also had a dance solo […]

History Quiz: Talley Beatty

1.  Who was Talley Beatty’s first dance teacher? 2.  Beatty’s choreographic genius was transforming experiences of _____ _____into brilliant physical expressions of the _____ _____. 3.  True or False: Beatty rejected ballet for Afro-Caribbean and modern dance. 4.  What is the name of the first dance that Beatty created for his company? 5.  What part […]

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson: Boundary-Breaking Tap Dancer

Tap dancing on the balls of one’s feet hardly seems like a novel idea, but the technique is due largely to beloved hoofer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (1878–1949). He revolutionized the previously popular style of flat-footed shuffling with up-on-his-toes tapping and a swinging rhythm. Born Luther Robinson in Richmond, Virginia, he was given the nickname “Bojangles” […]

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