Rachel Straus - Dance Writer

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Juilliard Dance

 
Published: May 1, 2012
Category: history

Michael Kidd: Energizing the golden age of musical theater

By Rachel Straus When approached to choreograph the 1954 film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Michael Kidd read the screenplay about woodsmen looking for wives and thought, “Surely, those guys would never dance.” His solution was to use a barn-raising competition as a jumping-off point for a number in which the brothers fought for the []

Published: January 1, 2011
Category: history

Robert Alton

Robert Alton and Greta Garbo in MGM’s Two-Faced Woman (1940)

“I have exactly six minutes in which to raise the customer out of his seat. If I cannot do it, I am no good,” Robert Alton (1902–1957) once told a reporter. For three decades, the choreographer created hundreds of colorful, sexy and funny dance numbers for the stage and screen. He fused existing ballet, tap, ballroom, modern and jazz steps together, creating the breezy dance style of the American musical still seen on Broadway today. []

Published: January 1, 2011
Category: history

History Quiz: Robert Alton

By Rachel Straus 1. Name the famous jazz teacher who Alton encouraged to start teaching. 2. The Bolshoi-trained ballet dancer, Mikhail Mordkin taught Alton a beautiful _____ _____ _____ and an expansive use of the _____ _____. 3. Alton made which Hollywood star move effortlessly?4. In his first gig as a film dance director, Alton []

Published: August 1, 2007
Category: technique

Teacher's Wisdom: Luigi

By Rachel Straus Luigi: “Even when you strike a pose, the movement goes on through the fingertips.” Eugene Louis Facciuto’s first career as a lead dancer in Hollywood was destroyed at age 21 by a near-fatal car accident. His doctors predicted that the former child star wouldn’t emerge from his coma, let alone rise again []