Fosse Master Classes: Take 2

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Christopher R. Kirby, Elizabeth Parkinson and Desmond Richardson in “Cool Hand Luke” from the 1968 Bob Hope Special

Veteran Fosse dancers, Lloyd Culbreath and Valarie Pettiford, are heading back into the studio for the second set of Fosse workshops.  After the success of the first Master Class in February, Culbreath and Pettiford are excited to restage some of Fosse’s lesser-known works on the younger generation of dancers.

The Master Class will be held at New York City’s Manhattan Movement Arts Center on March 18-21, 2013.  50 invited professional dancers will learn three trios of Bob Fosse choreography that were created specifically for Gwen Verdon: “Mexican Breakfast,” “Tijuana Shuffle,” and “Cool Hand Luke.”

In her interview with broadwayworld.com, Pettiford noted, “We’re trying to find those gems that people haven’t seen in a while.  We want to sort of rediscover and connect with those works…for preservation because there is no archival of those shows.  We want to keep those amazing works alive for future generations.”

Veteran Fosse Dancers To Give Workshop February 2013

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Lloyd Culbreath and Valarie Pettiford will be teaching a Fosse Workshop February 4,5,6,& 7th in New York City at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center.  The workshop will be comprised of 50 invited professional dancers.  The dancers will be taught several Fosse numbers that best articulate his style and technique.

Nicole Fosse, Director and Artistic Adviser for the Verdon Fosse Estate hopes to accomplish several objectives over the course of the workshop, “I want this current generation of working dancers to get the best possible people teaching them my father’s material.  There are so many false impressions out there of what my father’s style and technique is…..by using Estate sanctioned teachers, I feel a new generation of dancers will have a much cleaner understanding of performing Fosse material”.

It really was a “Big Deal” …wasn’t it! 2012

from left: Mary MacLeod, Valarie Pettiford, Lloyd Culbreath, Cady Huffman, Kathryn Doby


Fosse Love

The Verdon Fosse Estate and American Dance Machine for the 21st Century (ADM21) have joined forces to reconstruct the Act One finale number “Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar” from the 1986 Bob Fosse musical Big Deal.

Career long assistant and noted authority on Bob Fosse, Kathryn Doby was brought in from California along with original cast members Lloyd Culbreath, Valarie Pettiford, Cady Huffman, Roumel Reaux and Candace Tovar to help reconstruct the intricate dance that will be performed at an invited guest only showing on November 14, 2012.  Fosse dancer Mary MacLeod was invited to attend the reconstruction and help run the auditions for dancers hired to perform the number.

Lloyd Culbreath, Valarie Pettiford and Kathryn Doby have the task of teaching the number to the 14 dancers that will perform the piece at The November 14th showing.

Nikki Feirt Atkins, founder and executive director of ADM21 related, “The reconstruction of this work exemplifies our “living mission”, which is to honor the true intent and nuanced details of the original choreographer.  It has been a thrilling experience to witness the original cast members gather in the studio with their notes, memories and joy of Fosse to reconstruct this magnificent piece.

Nicole Fosse, Director and Artistic Adviser of the Verdon Fosse Estate, said, “It is so exciting to be in the studio and watch a new generation of dancers have the opportunity to learn this number from the true and authentic Fosse perspective and work ethic that Lloyd Culbreath and Valarie Pettiford bring with them.  Kathryn Doby overseeing the re-construction adds the clarity and specificity that so few people have of my father’s work. There has been no other project since my father’s death that has been this true to his original intent.