“Fosse on Film” Master Classes @ BDC

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The Verdon Fosse Legacy, LLC is back with a series of “Fosse on Film”-inspired master classes at Broadway Dance Center in which students will learn iconic Fosse rep under the direction of Fosse veterans. Don’t miss your chance to train in one of Broadway’s most acclaimed techniques!

For Advanced Dancers
Ages 16+
All classes are on Sundays from 6-9pm 

$35
pre-register here
Students must register and pay for each class separately
There are no exchanges or refunds for this class


July 10th, 6-9pm
“Son of a Preacher Man” from “Liza with a Z”
with Valarie Pettiford

July 24th, 6-9pm
“There’ll Be Some Changes Made” from “All That Jazz”
with Dana Moore

August 7th, 6-9pm
“Two Lost Souls” from “Damn Yankees”
with Lloyd Culbreath

August 14th, 6-9pm
“Steam Heat” from “The Pajama Game”
with Dana Moore

August 21st, 6-9pm
“Once-A-Year Day” from “The Pajama Game”
with Lloyd Culbreath

For additional information or questions, please email BDCWorkshops@bwydance.com or call the registration office at 212-582-9304 x24


Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 4.14.50 PMValarie Pettiford, a Drama League, Outer Critics, and TONY nominee for Fosse, can currently be seen recurring on two hit TV series, The Blacklist on NBC, and the new hit Comedy Born Again Virgin on TV one.

Valarie’s Broadway highlights include:  Sophisticated LadiesBig Deal; the first National tour of Dancin’; the 30th anniversary tour of West Side Story, as Anita; and the revival tour of Show Boat, as Julie. She is an NAACP Winner for best actress in the LA production of Michael John La Chuisa’s The Wild Party as Queenie.

Valarie’s TV credits include: 4 seasons and 3 NAACP image nominations as Big Dee Dee on the hit TV series Half and Half. She can be seen as Aunt Geneva in the hit movie Jumping The Broom, and guest starring on BlackishTrue Blood,  TremeCriminal Minds, and CSI, just to name a few.

Valarie is a Bistro winner for the Cabaret Debut at the Metropolitan Room. She can be seen touring with her sold-out one women show around the country. She has 2 CD’s available on ITunes, and for the last 3 years she has been hired by The Verdon/Fosse Legacy to reconstruct Fosse’s choreography through Master classes.


moore_danaDana Moore is a veteran of the Broadway stage. she was last seen on Broadway in Not Guilty (Hunyak) in chicago. Dana was also featured in Fosse (now on DVD), which chronicled Bob Fosse’s work from stage, film and television.

Dana’s other Broadway credits include: A Chorus LineSweet Charity, Bob Fosse’s Dancin’On Your ToesThe Will Rogers FolliesHow To Succeed […], Singin’ in the Rain, Dangerous GamesSugar Babies and Copperfield. 

Dana has toured with Chicago and Falsettos and appeared in the following films: The Producers: the Movie Musical and Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You. Dana is a Musical Theater faculty member at Marymount Manhattan College and conducts master classes in cities across the USA. Internationally, Dana has worked as teacher and choreographer for the International Dance Intensive in Cyprus, Badar Dance Institue in Oslo, Tapage Dance Company in Toulouse, and the Jazz Musical Theatre Program at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts. Dana is also a founding company member of Chet Walker’s Walker Dance Company.


Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 4.15.22 PMLloyd Culbreath, a veteran Fosse dancer, has worked in the entertainment industry for over 30 years. Currently, he is lead instructor for the Fosse Master Class Series sanctioned by the Verdon Fosse Estate. Lloyd’s Broadway credits include DANCIN’, Sophisticated Ladies, The Tap Dance Kid, Big Deal, National Tour of Sweet Charity, Honky Tonk Nights, Guys and Dolls, On The Town (Assistant Choreographer), Man of La Mancha (Assistant Choreographer), National Tour of Chicago (Dance Captain) and Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Bob Fosse!

scan0458Robert Louis Fosse was born on this day (June 23rd), 1927. Growing up in Chicago, young Bob Fosse was obsessed with Fred Astaire, the king of Hollywood’s Golden Age of movie musicals. As a boy Fosse would watch his famous films and try to imitate not only Astaire’s tapping feet, but also his debonair style and enchanting charm. At age twenty-five, Fosse landed his own contract with Hollywood’s MGM studios as a dancer in movies such as Kiss Me, Kate, Give A Girl A Break, and The Affairs of Dobie Gillis. One day Fred Astaire bumped into Fosse while on the MGM set. Astaire politely introduced himself and, before walking away, casually kicked a nail that was lying on the ground, causing it to ricochet in an intricate pattern that simply mesmerized Fosse. After Astaire left, Fosse recovered that nail and worked for hours to reenact its choreography—with the same ease and grace of Astaire.

But Bob Fosse certainly didn’t always stand in the shadows of Fred Astaire; he went on to revolutionize American theatre dance. His blend of awesome sensuality, clever humor, cinematic insight, popular references, and a hint of cynicism made musical theatre contemporary, consumable, and controversial. Fosse was one of the greatest dance visionaries of the 20th century. He directed and choreographed over twenty-three films and Broadway musicals and won four Oscars and eight Tony Awards (more than any other choreographer). Additionally, Fosse is the only person ever to have won the “Triple Crown:” a Tony for Pippin, an Oscar for Cabaret, and an Emmy for Liza Minnelli’s television concert, Liza with a ‘Z’—all in 1973.

Today, the signature style of bowler hats, turned-in toes, and stooped shoulders is universally recognized simply as “Fosse.” His innovative, internalized, character-driven style helped define a new vernacular in the art of American Musical Theatre, making “Fosse” a renowned genre of dance all its own. Bob Fosse’s legacy lives on onstage in musicals such as Chicago and Sweet Charity, in pop culture references and inspiration, and through Fosse Master Classes produced by The Verdon Fosse Legacy LLC.

 

Inspirational heavyweight champ, Muhammad Ali

Legendary heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, died Friday at the age of 74.  Bob Fosse was inspired by the brute athleticism and regal artistry of boxing, and he and Gwen attended many of Ali’s big fights together—in a tux and gown, no less!  Below is a clip of “The Heavyweight” from the film of “Sweet Charity.”  Notice the boxing influences, sounds, movements, and metaphors so masterfully choreographed into the piece.

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American Dance Machine performs “Rich Man’s Frug” from SWEET CHARITY

The Heavyweight

Perhaps, also, Fosse was inspired by Ali’s work ethic, wisdom, and dedication to his craft; “A man who is not courageous enough to take risks will never accomplish anything in life.”—Muhammad Ali

30th anniversary of BIG DEAL…That’s a big deal!

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Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of the opening night of Bob Fosse’s final Broadway production, BIG DEAL (4/10/86). Set in 1930s Chicago, the show follows a group of African-American men who attempt to rob a pawn shop (based on Mario Monicelli’s 1958 film “Big Deal on Madonna Street”). The show features some of Fosse’s iconic numbers such as “Dancin’ Dan (Me and My Shadow),” “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” and “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar.”

While the production closed in just under two months, Frank Rich quoted “[At the end of Act 1,] Mr. Fosse makes an audience remember what is (and has been) missing from virtually every other musical in town. The number is set to the old song ”Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar,” and it unfolds in a Chicago ballroom of the 1930’s called (need I tell you?) Paradise. There’s a big band on a platform, and, somewhere in the blackness below, are two song-and-dance men (the frisky Bruce Anthony Davis and Wayne Cilento) slithering in flickering silver light. The men’s shoulders start to roll, their elbows sharpen, their hands hang limp even as the rest of their bodies gyrate at hard angles. And, just as these gentlemen seem to have merged with the high notes blared by the raucous horns above them, they are joined by a large chorus of bubbly revelers, who, by crossing the stage on a jagged diagonal, somehow manage to liberate both the show and the audience from conventional burdens of time, space and care” (“Theater: BIG DEAL from Bob Fosse,” NY Times).

56th Wedding Anniversary! Celebrating the Nuptials of Gwen Verdon & Bob Fosse

Celebrate with us today the 56th wedding anniversary of bride Gwen Verdon and groom Bob Fosse married on April 3rd 1960!

In the early spring of 1960 while their Broadway show ”Redhead” was on tour in Fosse’s home city of Chicago, Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse married, and by the time the tour reached Los Angeles, Verdon decided to retire from show business with the intention of concentrating on family life. In 1963 their daughter, Nicole, was born.

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Pictured is undated self Polaroid camera portrait from the Verdon Fosse Legacy archives, appears to be from the early 1960s, measuring 3 by 4 inches overall.

RIP Shannon Bolin

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Ray Walston, Robert Shafer, and Shannon Bolin in the 1958 film “Damn Yankees”

The Verdon Fosse Legacy mourns the death of Shannon Bolin (1/1/17-3/25/16).  Bolin starred as Meg (wife of Joe Boyd) in the original 1955 Broadway production of DAMN YANKEES and revived the role in the 1958 film version.

NY Times: Shannon Bolin, 99, Actress Who Starred in ‘Damn Yankees,’ Dies

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Shannon Bolin and Nicole Fosse (with sons Noah and Leif) at the 2008 NY City Center opening night of DAMN YANKEES 

The VerdonFosse Legacy lives on

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Last Wednesday Dancers over 40 hosted “All That Verdon! All That Fosse!” and it was a truly spectacular evening.  We’d like to extend our thanks to all of the panelists for sharing their stories, questions, discussions, video clips, and talents and for celebrating and promoting the legacy of Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse.  Thank you also, of course, to John Sefakis and Dancers over 40 for making the event possible and to Nel Shelby Productions for videography and film editing.  It takes a village to keep a legacy alive.  And this event proved that the legacy is alive and kicking!

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Dana Moore, Lloyd Culbreath, and Valarie Pettiford

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Pam Sousa, Nicole Fosse, Gene Foote, Kathryn Doby, and Diane Laurenson

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Ken Urmston, John Sefakis, Dick Korthaze, Harvey Evans, and George Marcy

“All That Verdon! All That Fosse!” event with Dancers over 40

On March 23rd Dancers over 40 will be hosting an evening entitled “All That Verdon! All That Fosse!”  The event will focus on the past, present, and future of the Verdon Fosse Legacy.  Panelists include Nicole Fosse, Lloyd Culbreath, Kathryn Doby, Harvey Evans, Gene Foote, Richard Korthaze, Diane Laurenson, George Marcy, Dana Moore, Valarie Pettiford, Mimi Quillin, Pam Sousa, Ken Urmston.  A few of our master class students will discuss their participation and experience learning and reconstructing Bob’s choreography.  Finally, authors Kevin Winkler and John Gilvey will discuss their respective books-in-progress, Big Deal: Bob Fosse and Dance in the American Musical and Brains and Talent: The Life and Allure of Legendary Entertainer Gwen Verdon.

“All That Verdon! All That Fosse!” is sure to be a spectacular event of talent, story-telling, video clips, and special performances.  Thank you to John Sefakis and Dancers over 40 for helping to organize and orchestrate this evening.

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“All That Verdon! All That Fosse!” will take place Wednesday, March 23rd at 7pm at St. Luke’s Theatre (308 W. 46th Street).  For tickets, visit www.telecharge.com.

“On the Riviera” Gwen Verdon 1951

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Gwen Verdon in solo Stage dance performance On the Riviera, 1951

On the Riviera, 1951 20th Century Fox, directed by Walter Lang

Please join Verdon Fosse Legacy Wednesday, January 20, 7pm at the All That Jack (Cole) MOMA film series for a screening of On the Riviera with introduction by Nicole Fosse.

On the Riviera, 1951 starring Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney, Corinne Calvet, and Gwen Verdon. 89 min.

Though unbilled in the main credits, Cole protégée Gwen Verdon features prominently in this dance-rich Fox Technicolor movie, as she leads nominal star Danny Kaye on a world-dance tour that includes Cole’s signature version of Hindu jazz in “Rhythm of a New Romance.” Cole’s dark side surfaces in the creepy, pseudo-whimsical “Popo the Puppet.” As Busby Berkeley had done 20 years earlier, Cole completely commandeers the mise en scène from the mediocre director of record for an amazing finale, aptly titled “Happy Ending.”

Version 2Gwen Verdon & Danny Kaye in On the Riviera, 1951

All That Jack (Cole) MOMA Film series

January 20–February 4, 2016

The choreographer Jack Cole (American, 1911–1974) stands Continue reading

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Gwen Verdon! “Glamorous Redhead” 1959

Today celebrate with us the birthday of one of America’s brightest stage and screen stars, Gwenyth Evelyn Verdon born January 13, 1925.

Age 34 “Glamorous Redhead Gwen Verdon” Magazine Cover 

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“The Theatre, Magazine of Drama, Comedy, Music”

from “January, 1959″ sold for “25 cents”

“Broadway’s Complicated Redhead Gwen Verdon dances like a goddess lives like a recluse and is the sole support of the town’s most popular musical.” Continue reading