FOSSE heads to Holland! Valarie Pettiford teaches LMIPA students in Amsterdam

This month our very own Valarie Pettiford (Big Deal, DANCIN’, Fosse) traveled to Amsterdam to teach at the Lucia Marthas Institute for the Performing Arts. LMIPA is a university-like program that offers Bachelor’s Degrees, Intermediate Degrees, and preliminary courses in the performing arts: acting, singing, and dancing.

Earlier this year, Sigrid van Coillie visited New York with some of her LMIPA students and took a “Sing! Sing! Sing!” master class with Valarie. “Even in that first class,” Val remembers, “the students knew all about Bob and were familiar with his technique and style. They were overjoyed to have me really ‘work’ them!” says Valarie. After such a great experience, Sigrid invited Val to teach about twenty of LMIPA’s 4th year students for their graduation performance concert.

Valarie taught a medley of “Crunchy Granola Suite” (DANCIN’), “Dancin’ Man” (DANCIN’), and “I Gotcha” (“Liza with a Z”). “The number was only allotted a certain number of minutes,” Val explains, “so I was forced to cut down some of the choreography—which pains me to do. But the [Verdon Fosse] Estate granted me the liberty to abridge some of the numbers and also add more dancers to the piece.”

“This was a great experience for me, as well,” notes Val. “I liken it to when I was the dance captain for Big Deal. It’s a lot of responsibility to know everyone’s counts and movements and positions on stage. I had the time of my life teaching these incredible students. They were so willing and present. This experience reminded me why I’m in showbiz, why I love to teach, and why I’m so honored to pass on the torch of Fosse choreography.”

“It’s actually no surprise to me that Fosse is so popular abroad,” admits Val. “Fosse choreography is magical both to watch and to dance! The man was fierce and there was no one like him. Performing that work changes you as a human. It excites you and touches your core. Everybody ‘gets’ it and can relate to it for some reason. Fosse was a force to be reckoned with and I think that’s why he remains so popular all over the world.”

Thank you to Lucia Marthas, Sigrid Van Coillie, James Van Der Velden, Rich Ascroft, Jessica Schots, Roemjana, Steve Jones, Lloyd Culbreath, Valarie Pettiford, Nicole Fosse, and everyone else who made this possible.


10845983_10205769206483827_6421366582678102530_n 11390399_10205774885905809_4023365023966680190_nIf you are interested in having a Verdon Fosse Estate-sanctioned teacher come to your dance school or college, please e-mail theverdonfosselegacyllc@gmail.com.

February Master Class was Dancin’ Dancin’ Dancin’

Thank you to the small but mighty group of dancers who braved the cold and danced with us this month in our February Master Class.  The dancers learned “Dancin’ Man” (a duet version that Bob and Gwen performed on the Gary Moore show in 1958), revisited “Trumpet Solo” from Dancin’, and even tackled a bit of “Crunchy Granola Suite” from Dancin’ for good measure.

Morning class with Lloyd Culbreath and Dana Moore

Morning class with Lloyd Culbreath and Dana Moore

Afternoon class with Lloyd Culbreath and Dana Moore

Afternoon class with Lloyd Culbreath and Dana Moore

We hope you’ll join us for our next week of classes March 16-20.  E-mail theverdonfosselegacyllc@gmail.com for more information.

January Master Class starts 2015 off with a BANG!

Our first master class kicked off the new year with great dancing and great energy.  Hinton Battle and Ann Reinking led the classes and were assisted by Lloyd Culbreath, Valarie Pettiford, and Dana Moore.  The Verdon Fosse Legacy would like to thank all of the talented dancers who joined us this past week.  We hope you will come dance with us next month (the week of February 16th) for another exciting reconstruction of Bob Fosse’s choreography.  To join our e-mail blast contact theverdonfosselegacyllc@gmail.com.

Ann Reinking (with Valarie Pettiford, Hinton Battle, Gary Chryst, Lloyd Culbreath, and Dana Moore) teaches "Trumpet Solo" from DANCIN'

Ann Reinking (with Valarie Pettiford, Hinton Battle, Gary Chryst, Lloyd Culbreath, and Dana Moore) teaches “Trumpet Solo” from DANCIN’

Hinton Battle (with Valarie Pettiford, Lloyd Culbreath, and Gary Chryst) teaches "Percussion 4" from DANCIN'

Hinton Battle (with Valarie Pettiford, Lloyd Culbreath, and Gary Chryst) teaches “Percussion 4” from DANCIN’

Ann Reinking and Hinton Battle set to teach January 2015 Master Class!

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015-all-that-jazz-theredlistTony and Olivier Award-winning dancer and choreographer, Ann Reinking appeared on Broadway in Coco, Wild and Wonderful, Over Here! (Theatre World Award), Goodtime Charley, A Chorus Line, and Tommy Tune Tonite!. Her credits for Mr. Fosse include Pippin, Chicago, DANCIN’, and Sweet Charity. She also starred in feature films such as Annie, Micki + Maude, and Fosse’s All That Jazz. Ms. Reinking later revived Chicago in 1996, recently celebrated as the longest running American musical. In 1998 Ms. Reinking co-created, co-directed, co-choreographed, and starred in the musical revue, Fosse. Aside from performing, Ms. Reinking has served as choreographer for Broadway, concerts, and TV, founded the professional training program: the Broadway Theater Project, and advocated for the National Marfan Foundation.

Three-time Tony Award-winner, Hinton Battle made his Broadway debut at age fifteen starring in the role of the Scarecrow in The Wiz. He went on to perform in many other Broadway shows like Sophisticated Ladies, Ragtime, Dreamgirls, The Tap Dance Kid, Miss Saigon, Chicago, and Fosse’s DANCIN’ and tour of Sweet Charity. Mr. Battle’s on-screen credits include dancing for The Kennedy Center’s 25th Anniversary, choreographing and starring as Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson in ABC/Disney’s Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story, playing the role of Wayne opposite Jamie Foxx in the movie musical Dreamgirls, and working as associate choreographer on the 65th and 66th Annual Academy Awards with Debbie Allen, just to name a few. He has directed and choreographed for stage, TV, and film, and recently returned from sold-out performances of Hinton Battle’s American Variety Bang II and will return to Japan in 2015 to launch the Hinton Battle Dance Academy and to write, direct, choreograph, and star in his third American Varity Bang.

Broadway World Interviews Lloyd Culbreath and Valarie Pettiford

broadwayworld_1331576590_600by Mary Callahan

Broadway World sat down with Broadway veterans, Lloyd Culbreath (DANCIN;’ BIG DEAL; SOPHISTICATED LADIES; THE TAP DANCE KID; HONKY TONK NIGHTS; ANYTHING GOES; GUYS AND DOLLS; CHITA RIVERA: THE DANCER’S LIFE; NO STRINGS, Encores; HOUSE OF FLOWERS, Encores; CARNIVAL, Encores; PROMISES, PROMISES, Encores; MAN OF LA MANCHA, Asst. Choreo.; ON THE TOWN, Asst. Choreo.) and Valarie Pettiford (TV/Film actress; CHICAGO, as Velma, London with Chita Rivera; SHOW BOAT Revival Tour, Julie; 30th Anniversary Tour of WEST SIDE STORY, Anita; SOPHISTICATED LADIES; GRIND; BIG DEAL; FOSSE, Tony Nominee), to discuss their efforts to preserve Bob Fosse’s legendary choreography for the next generation of dancers.  The pair held an exclusive Fosse Workshop in early February and invited fifty professional dancers to learn the signature style and articulation of Fosse choreography.  Nicole Fosse, the Director and Artistic Advisor for the Verdon Fosse Estate, remarked, “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.” Continue reading