- Claude Conyers
(b Westfield, NJ, Aug 8, 1899; d Waterbury, CT, Dec 1, 1990). American choreographer. He was the creator of the Rockettes, the precision dance troupe at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. After military service in World War I, he studied dance and worked at odd jobs until beginning his dance career in the chorus of Earl Carroll’s Vanities of 1923. While continuing to work on Broadway, he earned extra money by entering Charleston contests and staging dance numbers at a Harlem nightclub. There he met the Skouras brothers, Spyros and Charlie, who hired him as dance director of the stage shows at their Grand Central Theater in St. Louis. Inspired by the Tiller Girls, a famed English troupe of precision dancers, Markert formed a kick line of girls that he called the Missouri Rockets. Their popularity with audiences led to an invitation to return to New York in ...