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Carol G. Marsh

[l'aîne]

(b Paris, March 1648; d Paris, 1719). French dancing-master, choreographer, violinist and possibly composer. He came from a family of violinists and dancing-masters. He danced the role of a monkey in 1660, and by 1666 he was clearly an accomplished and versatile professional. In 1674 he choreographed a divertissement by Cambert for performance at the English court. Among his illustrious pupils was the dauphine, Marie-Anne Christine-Victoire.

Favier was one of several late 17th-century French dancing-masters to devise a dance-notation system. He used it to preserve his choreography for A.D. Philidor's Le mariage de la grosse Cathos (1688), which includes movement notation for all 28 performers, including singers and instrumentalists. Favier notation lacks the visual attractiveness and readily discernible floor patterns of Beauchamp-Feuillet notation, but it has two advantages over the latter: dances for large groups are more easily notated, since each dancer has his own ‘part’, as in a music score; and greater rhythmic precision is possible....

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Susan Au

(b Brooklyn, NY, July 5, 1942). American dancer, choreographer, and ballet company director. He studied dance in New York at the School of American Ballet and the High School of Performing Arts. In 1954 he made his stage début at the age of 11 as the child prince in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, with New York City Ballet. He appeared in both the Broadway and film versions of the musical West Side Story (1958, 1961), playing the role of Baby-John in the latter. His early performing experience included modern dance, musicals, and television as well as ballet. He danced with American Ballet Theatre (1963–8, 1971–2), where he created his first ballet, Harbinger (1967; Prokofiev), followed shortly by At Midnight (1967; Mahler); both were highly praised. For his first ensemble, the American Ballet Company (1969–71), he choreographed Intermezzo No. 1 (...

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Earle Hitchner

(b Chicago, IL, July 16, 1958). American Irish stepdancer, choreographer, flutist, and producer. At age 11 Flatley began stepdancing lessons at Chicago’s Dennehy School of Irish Dance. In 1975, at age 17, he became the first US competitor to win the All-World championship for Irish stepdancing. Flatley is also a three-time All-Ireland junior flute champion. He released the solo album …And Then Came Flatley (self-issued, 1981; reissued as CD entitled Michael Flatley on Son Records, 1995) and the double-CD On a Different Note (Unicorn Entertainments Inc., 2011). In 1988 he received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in recognition of his impact on Irish dance in the United States. Flatley’s biggest break and breakthrough, however, came on 30 April 1994, during the Eurovision Song Contest held in Dublin’s Point Theatre. There he and his dance partner, Jean Butler, electrified the seated audience and millions more watching on television with a seven-minute performance called ...

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Article

Claude Conyers

[Robert Louis]

(b Chicago, IL, June 23, 1927; d Washington, DC, Sept 23, 1987).

American stage, film, and television dancer, choreographer, and director. Son of a former vaudevillian, he began studying ballet, tap, and jazz dance at age nine and within a few years was appearing in local nightclubs and theaters. In 1944, at age 17, he enlisted in the US Navy and performed in its special services entertainment division. After the war, he went to New York and found work in the chorus of Call Me Mister (1948), where he met his first wife, Mary Ann Niles, with whom he formed a dance act. Their appearances in major hotels led to their being hired to appear on television variety shows and in the Broadway revue Dance Me a Song (1950), where he fell in love with Joan McCracken, one of the co-stars of the show. After divorce and remarriage, he enrolled at the American Theater Wing to continue his studies in theater arts. In ...

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Elizabeth Gibson and Curtis Price

[John]

(b Florence, Jan 7, 1728; d London, Jan 5, 1805). Italian dancer, choreographer and impresario. He moved to Paris and, according to Antoine de Léris (Dictionnaire portatif des théâtres, 1754), was a member of the Académie Royale de Musique company until at least 1754. His first recorded appearance in London was at Covent Garden on 17 December 1757, when he danced in the ballets The Judgement of Paris and The Sicilian Peasants. In autumn 1758 he joined the corps de ballet at the King's Theatre, dancing in operas by Cocchi and Perez, and was named director of dances for Cocchi's Ciro riconosciuto (3 February 1759). He continued as dance director as well as a performer through the 1762–3 season, providing ballets for J.C. Bach's first London opera, Orione (19 February 1763). During 1763–4 he returned to Covent Garden as director of dances and was re-engaged in ...

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Claude Conyers

(b Metairie, LA, Nov 23, 1919; d New York, Sept 28, 2000). American stage and television dancer and choreographer. Having begun his career dancing at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, he then spent the war years in military service. He returned to New York in 1946 and resumed his training in ballet and modern dance. After appearing in the dancing ensembles of several Broadway shows in the late 1940s and early 1950s, he won acclaim in The Pajama Game (1954) as one of the trio of dancers in “Steam Heat,” choreographed by Bob Fosse. He then worked as choreographer on a number of hit shows, including Fiorello! (1959), The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1960), Bajour (1964), Irene (1973), and Annie (1977), for which he won a Tony award. He was even more successful in his work for television, appearing in and/or choreographing dances for ...

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Kathleen Kuzmick Hansell

(b Naples, c1760; d Naples, March 30, 1826). Italian dancer and choreographer. By 1775 he was a principal dancer at the Teatro Regio, Turin. He appeared there regularly up to 1778 and in 1784–9, but also danced in Florence (1776, 1779–80), Lucca (1779), Rome (1781, 1787) and Naples (1783, 1785). He made his choreographic début at Turin in 1789, then worked in Venice and at La Scala, Milan. He was subsequently principal choreographer and dancer at the major theatres of Naples (1793, 1795–6), Milan (1793–4), Florence (1798–9), Turin (1799) and Genoa (1800). A period in Vienna from 1800 exposed him to important new stimuli, notably the instrumental music of resident composers, the new lighting techniques and stage effects of the Zauberopern and acquaintance with the younger choreographer Salvatore Viganò. Gioia returned to Italy in ...

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Paul R. Laird

(b Newark, NJ, Nov 19, 1973). American tap dancer and choreographer. After studying drums he began tap lessons at age seven and became a prodigy in rhythm tap, where the dancer uses all parts of the foot to produce sound. By 1984 he was a replacement lead in The Tap Dance Kid on Broadway. He worked with older masters in the field, including Lon Chaney, Gregory Hines, and Sammy Davis, and learned their routines. He next appeared on Broadway in Black and Blue (1989), a retrospective celebrating African American music through which Glover became among the youngest performers ever nominated for a Tony Award. He appeared in the film Tap (1989) and portrayed the younger version of Jelly Roll Morton in the show Jelly’s Last Jam (1991). The latter opened in Los Angeles and ran 569 performances in New York before touring. Glover conceived ...

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Earle Hitchner

(b Brooklyn, NY, May 6, 1953). American traditional Irish stepdancer, choreographer, and teacher. He began on the fiddle but quickly discovered dance as his true calling. He studied for three years with Jerry Mulvihill in the Bronx and then took lessons for nine years with Jimmy Erwin in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. In 1970 Golden won the North American Irish Dance Championships, finished third in the all-Ireland championships, and placed second in the Senior Men’s competition at the World Championships. His teaching career in Irish stepdancing began in 1972 when he founded the Donny Golden School of Irish Dance, which holds classes in Brooklyn and Mineola, New York. His pupils have included Jean Butler, the original co-star of Riverdance, and Winifred Horan, the founding fiddler of the band Solas. Over the years Golden has stepdanced in concerts by the Chieftains, the Green Fields of America, and Cherish the Ladies. His hard-shoe steps can be heard on such albums as Billy McComiskey’s ...