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(b Omaha, NE, May 10, 1899; d Beverly Hills, CA, June 22, 1987). American dancer, singer, choreographer, and actor. He began performing at the age of seven with his sister Adele. As a duo they worked in vaudeville from 1906 to 1916 and moved to Broadway in 1917. Starring roles in The Bunch and Judy (1922) and For Goodness Sake (1923) led to Lady, be good! (1924), which marked their arrival as top Broadway stars. During the 1920s several of the Astaires’ successful shows appeared in the West End in London, where the pair enjoyed a cult-like following. After The Band Wagon (1931) Adele retired from the stage to marry an English aristocrat. Astaire appeared in Gay Divorce in New York (1932) and London (1933), before signing a contract with RKO, the smallest major film studio in Hollywood....

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Claude Conyers

(b Geneva, IL, June 22, 1921; d New York, Aug 25, 1980). American dancer, singer, choreographer, and musical theater director. When he was twelve years old, he began studying dance with Ernest Belcher in Los Angeles, training in ballet, acrobatics, tap, and Spanish dance. At fifteen he formed a ballroom dance act with Jeanne Tyler, a fellow student at Hollywood High School, and made his professional début. After several years of touring (1935–42) and a stint in the Coast Guard during World War II, Champion formed a new partnership with Belcher’s daughter Marjorie in 1946. The new partners would later marry and win fame as one of the most popular dancing couples of the late 1940s and 1950s.

Marge and Gower Champion played supper clubs and hotel ballrooms before moving on to Broadway musicals and television variety shows. By the early 1950s they had established a national reputation as a popular song and dance act, and Gower had gained considerable experience as a choreographer. Their successes on stage and television led them, inevitably, back to Hollywood. After appearing as “guest artists” in ...

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(fl Mantua, 1580–1608). Italian singer, lutenist, dancer and choreographer . He appears in court records from Mantua from about 1580. For the wedding of Duke Vincenzo I and Margherita Farnese, he arranged the dances for Bernardo Pino da Cagli's Ingiusti sdegni, presented in Parma in 1584 by the Jewish theatrical company of Mantua. In 1591–2 he was commissioned to provide the dances for the performance in Mantua of Battista Guarini's Pastor fido, which was postponed until 1598; Massarano planned the dance scheme for the ‘Gioco della cieca’. Other productions on which he collaborated were Leone de' Sommi's Le tre sorelle (1598) and Torquato Tasso's Delli intrighi de amor (1606). In 1608 Massarano appeared, together with Salamone Rossi, in an entertainment at the home of the Paduan nobleman Pietro Priuli.

FenlonMM E. Birnbaum: Jüdische Musiker am Hofe von Mantua von 1542–1628 (Vienna, 1893; It. trans., rev., in ...

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Kyle Gann

(Jane)

(b New York, Nov 20, 1942). American composer, singer, dancer and choreographer. She attended Sarah Lawrence College (BA 1964), where she studied a combination of theatre, dance and music. On her return to New York, she became involved in the James Tenney-Philip Corner-Malcolm Goldstein-Morton Feldman experimental music scene, and in the happenings and performance art of the Judson Theater. In her first important piece, 16-Millimeter Earrings (1966), she filmed herself dancing and made her own experimental soundtrack by running three tape loops simultaneously. Her first large theatre work, Juice (1969), an attempt to overturn concert conventions, was performed on three non-consecutive nights over a six-week period in three different and increasingly smaller spaces.

During the early 1970s Monk concentrated primarily on solo work and singing. The majority of her early works are for solo voice, or voice and piano. Despite her activity in other media (she is as often written about by dance, theatre and performance art critics as by music critics), her lithe vocal effects are her most characteristic trademark. Her repertory of vocal techniques includes glottal stops, Amerindian-style vibrato, nasal singing, nonsense syllables and child-like vocal tones, sounds featured in Balkan singing, Tibetan chanting and other non-Western traditions. ...

Article

Claude Conyers

(James)

(b Wichita Falls, TX, Feb 28, 1939). American actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, and musical theater director. Enrolled in a tap dance class when he was five years old, he showed obvious talent. This led to classes in acrobatics, modern dance, jazz dance, and, finally, ballet, in which he trained for some years with the intention of making it his career. His aspirations diminished, however, as his height increased (he eventually grew to a height of six feet, six and a half inches), and in high school he focused his energies on staging musical comedies. In college, he appeared in numerous student productions as a theater major, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1962. Just before completing requirements for a master’s degree, he decided to abandon academic studies for the professional stage.

Arriving in New York City in 1964, he quickly found work. He made his Broadway début in Baker Street...