“The most touching moment occurred when [Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon’s] grandson, Noah Fosse, who admitted to never getting to meet his grandfather, recalled his grandmother as being his “best friend” and–as a senior citizen–still building forts by toppling the couches in the living room. Thank goodness for (their daughter) Nicole and Noah who continue to honor and promote the Verdon Fosse Legacy! In a titillating trio that displayed exactly why Bob Fosse has maintained such an exalted status, the star of the FX series Fosse/Verdon who played Chita Rivera–Bianca Pamela Marroquin–along with the slinky, sexy dance studs Nicholas de la Vega and Nicholas Sipes, performed the number “I Gotcha” from Liza With a Z that garnered Fosse awards and recognition in his landmark year, 1972. The scintillating threesome brought sizzle to the evening with their red-hot presentation. With her swinging ponytail, long legs, knocked knees and quirky attitude, Marroquin channeled Minelli on stage as flawlessly as she did Rivera on the screen. Mimi Quillin, who worked with Fosse and Verdon, reconstructed the smokin’ dance from a video, which the talented dancers adapted to in almost no time. The two Nicks referred to one of the most thrilling, iconic and challenging signature Fosse moves–the scoot–where they crawl across the stage, stiff upper body, shuffling feet and bent knees (a bit like Voguing but more painful) as “the thigh burner.”
The Verdon Fosse Legacy was honored to partake in the 4th annual Dancers for Good benefit concert in support of The Actors Fund. The event, held at Guild Hall in East Hampton, was hosted by Cady Huffman (Bob Fosse’s BIG DEAL) and honored Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon for their Lifetime Achievement. Their middle grandson, Noah Fosse, accepted the honor on behalf of the Verdon Fosse Legacy. The Legacy also closed the show with a performance of “I Gotcha,” the fun and funky trio from Bob Fosse’s Emmy-winning “Liza with a Z” (1972). Mimi Quillin reconstructed the piece which starred Bianca Marroquin (Chita Rivera in FX’s “Fosse Verdon), Nicolas de la Vega, and Nicholas Sipes. It was a magical evening filled with incredible dancing for an incredible cause. For more information about Dancers for Good, visit www.dancersforgood.org.
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.
It is with sore necks and happy hearts that we ended our November master class last Friday. Lloyd Culbreath and Valarie Pettiford taught Fosse’s iconic “I Gotcha” trio from the Emmy Award-winning “Liza with a Z.”
Join us for The Verdon Fosse Legacy LLC’s next Master Class November 17th-21st from 10:30am-12:30pm at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center. We’ll be reconstructing “I Gotcha” from the Emmy Award-winning “Liza with a Z.” Learn this original repertoire from Fosse veterans Valarie Pettiford (DANCIN’, Big Deal, Chicago, Fosse—Tony nominated) and Lloyd Culbreath (DANCIN’, Sweet Charity, Big Deal). All levels of dance and/or Fosse experience welcome. Continue reading