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Jonathan Katz

(b Delhi, Dec 25, 1928). Indian classical dancer, scholar and administrator. She was educated at the Universities of Delhi and Michigan and took her PhD in Indology from Banaras Hindu University, which is among those universities which later awarded her honorary degrees. In addition to her studies in art, history and English and Sanskrit literature she trained in several styles of Indian classical dance. Her numerous published writings show a broad interdisciplinary interest in the cultural, historical and philosophical contexts of Indian art and performing traditions. She has stressed the conceptual links between different Indian arts and has striven to identify underlying symbolic and intellectual themes in the various regional styles and genres she has studied. In her administrative career she has held Indian government posts in cultural policy and has headed departments responsible for archaeology, museums and libraries as well as literary, visual and performing arts. She became first the secretary and then the academic director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi. She has held visiting appointments at universities in the USA and has represented India in international conferences, seminars and exhibitions; she has also been a member of UNESCO committees. Under Vatsyayan's leadership the Indira Gandhi Centre has become an important documentation centre for the study of classical Indian texts and traditional Indian philosophy and performing arts. It has also published a series of primary texts and translations, dictionaries and reference works concerning music and other arts. Vatsyayan's academic and administrative achievements have been recognized in a number of national awards including the Padma Shri of the Republic of India in ...

Article

Claude Conyers

[Rohe, Vera Ellen Westmeier]

(b Norwood, OH, Feb 16, 1921; d Los Angeles, Aug 30, 1981). American dancer and actress in musical films. After working as a nightclub dancer, she went to New York City and became one of the youngest Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. She soon found work dancing on Broadway in Very Warm for May (1939). This was followed by Panama Hattie (1940), By Jupiter (1942), and A Connecticut Yankee (1943). Samuel Goldwyn spotted her in the chorus of A Connecticut Yankee, signed her up, and subsequently cast her opposite Danny Kaye in the films Wonder Man (1945) and The Kid from Brooklyn (1946). Her lighthearted, effortless dancing and her apple-cheeked charm made her a hit at the box office. She was then paired with the best male dancers in Hollywood, appearing with Gene Kelly in ...

Article

Claude Conyers

[Gwyneth Evelyn]

(b Culver City, CA, Jan 13, 1925; d Woodstock, VT, Oct 18, 2000). American musical theater dancer, singer, and actress. Daughter of a Denishawn instructor, she was trained in a variety of dance styles from an early age. As an adult she found work with Jack Cole, a pioneering jazz dancer and choreographer. After dancing with his troupe in nightclubs and a few Broadway shows, she became Cole’s chief assistant and featured dancer in a number of Hollywood musicals in the early 1950s. In 1953, she made a sensation on Broadway in the supporting role of Claudine in Cole Porter’s Can-Can, choreographed by Michael Kidd, and she topped it in 1955 when she starred as Lola the seductive witch in Damn Yankees, choreographed by Bob Fosse. The pairing of Verdon and Fosse was a landmark in show business history, as she was the perfect interpreter of his unique style of jazz dancing and fertile choreographic imagination. Together, they won rave reviews for ...

Article

(Rinaldo Giuseppe Maria)

(b Milan, Sept 6, 1739; d ?Venice, 1811). Italian choreographer, dancer and impresario. From the 1750s he danced mostly in Rome, Vienna, Venice and Naples, becoming active as a choreographer from at least 1773 and as an impresario from at least 1783. Viganò was famous in his youth as a dancer in the comic (grottesco) style. Burney, who saw him in Naples in 1770, wrote that he ‘has great force and neatness, and seems to equal Slingsby in his à plomb, or neatness of keeping time’. Later he seems to have appeared only in serious parts, dancing regularly until 1792 and once thereafter, in 1797. He was one of the best-known choreographers in Italy, often working in collaboration with the composer Marescalchi, but he never approached the celebrity achieved by his son Salvatore. His career as an impresario, notably at the Teatro Argentina in Rome (...

Article

Friderica Derra De Moroda

revised by Monika Woitas

(b Naples, March 25, 1769; d Milan, Aug 10, 1821). Italian choreographer, dancer and composer . He was the son of Onorato Viganò and Maria Ester Viganò (née Boccherini), who were both dancers; as early as Carnival 1783 he was dancing female roles with great success at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, where his father was impresario and ballet-master. He also studied composition with Boccherini (his uncle) and provided music for some of his father’s ballets (the earliest known is Cefalo e Procri, Carnival 1786) and later for some of his own. In summer 1786 he had a farsetta, La credula vedova, performed in Rome. He had moved with his family to Venice by 1788 and danced with them at the S Samuele theatre. In 1789 he went to Spain with an uncle, Giovanni Viganò, to perform in the coronation festivities of Charles IV. There he met the dancer Maria Medina, whom he married, and the French dancer and choreographer Dauberval, who took him as a pupil to Bordeaux and, early in ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Boskovice, 19 Jan 1984).Czech composer and performer (voice, accordion, and tap dance). She studied the accordion (2004–10) and composition (2007–8) at the Brno Conservatory, and composition at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (with martin smolka and Peter Graham[1]). She also studied as an exchange student at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, the California Institute of the Arts (with michael pisaro), the Universität der Künste Berlin (with Marc Sabat), and Columbia University (with george e. lewis).

While she often works with elements outside of music, there is almost always an intense engagement with direct listening, often arrived at through intense focus on very limited material. Sources for her work include Morse code, maps of garments which she turns into scores (Shirt for Harp, Oboe, and Accordion; Jacket for Ensemble), field recordings which she notates descriptively and then asks musicians to interpret the notation (...

Article

Jacquelyn Sholes

(Fredericka Carolyn )

(b Savannah, GA, Dec 23, 1903; d Stamford, CT, June 28, 1994). American actress, dancer, singer, and writer. Washington was one of the first widely recognized African American stage and film actresses. She performed in the Broadway musical Shuffle Along (1921–6); as Paul Robeson’s costar in Black Boy (1926); on European tour with dance partner Al Moiret (1927–8); and in shows including Singin’ the Blues (1931), Run, Little Chillun’! (1933), Mamba’s Daughters (1939), a revival of Porgy and Bess (1943), Lysistrata (1946), and A Long Way from Home (1948). Her film credits include Black and Tan Fantasy (1929; with Duke Ellington), The Old Man of the Mountain and The Emperor Jones (1933), and One Mile from Heaven (1937). In 1934, Washington (whose mother was Caucasian) appeared in the film ...

Article

Moira Goff

(bap. Shrewsbury, July 21, 1673; d Shrewsbury, Sept 24, 1760). English dancer, choreographer and dancing-master . The son of another dancing-master named John Weaver, he was educated at Shrewsbury School but spent part of his youth in Oxford, where his father kept a dancing school. By 1700 he was a theatrical dancer in London and early in 1703 he created The Tavern Bilkers, his first work for the stage. He became associated with the dancing-master Mr Isaac, who wished to improve both the status and the practice of dancing, and in 1706, at Isaac's suggestion, he published Orchesography as well as six of Mr Isaac's ball-dances in Beauchamp-Feuillet notation. He returned to Shrewsbury, and, in 1712, with the encouragement of the essayist and dramatist Sir Richard Steele, he published An Essay towards an History of Dancing. It dealt mainly with the status of dancing in antiquity, but in the final chapter Weaver argued for the reform of contemporary stage dancing so that it could represent ‘...

Article

Barbara Palfy

(b Lincoln, NE, July 22, 1901; d New York, July 15, 1975). American dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Weidman studied dance as a youth locally and then with former Ballets Russes dancer Theodore Kosloff, going on to Denishawn in California to finish his training and to perform with the company for six years. In 1928 a number of the dancers rebelled against the exotica they were performing and left to find new ways of moving, becoming the pioneers of what would be called modern dance. With fellow dancer Doris Humphrey the Humphrey-Weidman Company was formed in New York, lasting until 1945 as a major troupe of the era.

While the innovative movement vocabulary they presented was primarily Humphrey’s contribution, Weidman developed an approach to dancemaking that he called “kinetic pantomime”: starting with an everyday gesture and letting it spool out improvisationally. Always an arresting presence on the stage, he created solos and group works that were full of characterization. His sensibilities were attuned to all shades of life, expressed in works that could be scathing as in his statement against bigotry in ...

Article

Reg Hall

[William Nathan]

(b Bampton, Oxon., 1868; d after 1949). English country fiddler, melodeon player, dancer and Morris fool. The son of a footman, he earned his living as a hawker around the neighbouring villages of Bampton. In 1887, he began to play the part of the fool for the Bampton Morris team and gradually became the driving force behind its organization. He first played the fiddle for them two years later. In 1926, after some disagreement, Wells played fiddle for a set of newly trained dancers while Bertie Clark played for the established team. Wells's last official performance was in 1949.

In 1909, folksong and dance collector, Cecil Sharp met Jinky Wells and the Bampton Morris in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, later publishing some of the tunes he noted down from them. In 1913, Mary Neal invited Wells and the Bampton Morris to take part in May Day revels at the Globe Theatre, London; and in ...