41-50 of 212 results  for:

Clear all

Article

Claude Conyers

[Finklea, Tula Ellise]

(b Amarillo, TX, March 8, 1922; d Los Angeles, June 17, 2008). American actress and dancer in musical films. A ballet prodigy in childhood, she grew into a leggy, lissom beauty who began her career in Europe with Colonel W. de Basil’s Ballets Russes in the late 1930s. As war in Europe threatened, she married, settled in Hollywood, and found work in musical films in 1941. Put under contract by MGM in 1946, she appeared in supporting roles in numerous movie musicals in the late 1940s. Her appearance opposite Gene Kelly in the sensational “Broadway Rhythm Ballet” in Singin’ in the Rain (1952) was a turning point in her career. She was next cast opposite Fred Astaire in The Band Wagon (1953), which featured “Dancing in the Dark” and “The Girl Hunt Ballet,” now considered a landmark of dance film history. In Brigadoon (...

Article

Claude Conyers

(b Waterbury, CT, March 24, 1897; d New York, Jan 9, 1986). American ballet dancer and company director. The daughter of a prominent family whose wealth originated in the Waterbury Clock Company, she enjoyed a privileged youth. After graduation from college, she decided upon a theatrical career and undertook ballet training in New York with Mikhail Mordkin. Despite marriage to a prosperous businessman, motherhood, and her advanced age, she eventually developed sufficient classical technique to undertake leading roles with Mordkin’s company. When that company folded in 1939, Richard Pleasant drew upon its personnel and productions to form a new company, called Ballet Theatre. Chase was among the founding members who provided financial backing. A featured performer in soloist roles, she was appointed co-director with the designer Oliver Smith in 1945. Together they directed the company, renamed American Ballet Theatre in 1957, for thirty-five years. Chase’s importance lies in her administrative skill, in her interest in fostering the work of American composers and choreographers, in her steadfast moral and financial support of the company, and in her devotion to Richard Pleasant’s vision of an American company presenting the best of classical and contemporary ballet theater....

Article

Sally Banes

revised by Elizabeth Aldrich

(b New York, NY, June 26, 1940). American choreographer and dancer. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and also studied with Hanya Holm, Helen Tamiris, Merce Cunningham, James Waring, and Robert Dunn. In 1973 she founded her own company, Lucinda Childs Dance. For the most part her works are danced in silence. Pieces from the 1960s such as Street Dance (1964) incorporate ordinary activities as dance movements; those of the 1970s and 1980s consist chiefly of stepping patterns (Calico Mingling, 1973; Melody Excerpt, 1977). Childs is perhaps best known for her role as dancer, actress, and speaker in the avant-garde opera Einstein on the Beach (1976) by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson; originally she choreographed only her own solo dance, but for the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1984 she served as choreographer of the entire work. Her participation in Einstein led to a further collaboration with Glass, ...

Article

Claude Conyers

American ballet dancers, teachers, choreographers, and company directors. Three of the four Christensen brothers made their careers in dance. Members of a Danish Mormon family that had settled in America, they were taught folk and social dancing by their father and grandfather and trained in ballet by various teachers. All three were instrumental in establishing and popularizing ballet in the western United States.

Willam Farr Christensen (b Brigham City, UT, Aug 27, 1902; d Salt Lake City, Oct 14, 2001) was the eldest of the brothers. After touring the vaudeville circuit, he opened a ballet school in 1932 in Portland, Oregon, from which sprang the Portland Ballet. In 1937 he joined the San Francisco Opera Ballet, where, as ballet-master, he staged the first full-length American productions of Coppélia (1939), Swan Lake (1940), and The Nutcracker (1944). Returning to Utah in 1951, he taught ballet at the state university and founded a performing group that eventually became known as Ballet West....

Article

Whitney B. Holley

(b New York, NY, Aug 15, 1892; d Los Angeles, CA, Aug 29, 1972). American lyricist, dancer, and comedian. He began his career as a dancer and comedian on the vaudeville circuit and became a Tin Pan Alley lyricist. From Shirley Temple’s innocent banter to Billie Holiday’s sensual musings, Clare had a knack for fitting lyrics perfectly to a performer’s character. “Ma, he’s makin’ eyes at me” (1921, a collaboration with the composer Con Conrad), became a signature tune for the singer Eddie Cantor. Clare’s song “I’d climb the highest mountain (if I knew I’d find you)” (1926, with Lew Brown) was a hit for both Sophie Tucker and Al Jolson. “Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone” (1930, with Sam Stept) was popularized by the singers Bee Palmer and Kate Smith and later used in the Warner Bros. animated short One Froggy Evening...

Article

Irene Alm

(b Milan, ?1755; d after 1838). Italian dancer, choreographer and composer. A pupil of Noverre, he danced at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna in 1775 and presented his first choreography at the Teatro S Agostino in Genoa during Carnival 1776. Most of Clerico’s works were created for the opera houses in Venice, where he worked during the 1780s at S Samuele, S Benedetto and S Moisè, and later in his career at the Fenice, and in Milan, where from 1790 he graced the stage of La Scala for nearly 40 years. He also created ballets for opera houses in Turin, Rome, Brescia, Padua, Bologna, Parma and Florence, and returned to work in Vienna, 1798–1800. Clerico often danced in his own ballets with his brother Gaetano and sister Rosa (who in 1786 married the choreographer and dancer Lorenzo Panzieri). Their exceptional abilities as dancers, according to Ritorni, contributed in part to the success of Clerico’s ballets. Not only was he a renowned choreographer and dancer, but he also composed the music for many of his ballets. He was considered the heir to Angiolini, and an important precursor of Viganò. His enormous output totals nearly 80 ballets, many of which were restaged throughout Italy and in foreign theatres....

Article

Kay Edwards

[Robert Timothy; Oou Kas Mah Qwet (Thunder Bear); Red Cedar Whistle]

(b Los Angeles, CA, 1953). Native American flutist, actor, singer, dancer, and educator of Salt River Pima-Maricopa (enrolled) and Dakota descent. Nicknamed Tree for his six foot ten inch height, he is the adopted son of the actor Iron Eyes Cody. Also well known for his work as a master of ceremonies, arena director, and northern traditional dancer on the powwow circuit, he has performed extensively as a flute soloist, singer, and speaker, and collaborated with other musicians as well as his dance troupe, Native Wisdom. Both a tradition bearer as well as a musical innovator, Cody served as an ambassador for the State Department and the US Information Agency and performed extensively for museums, schools, colleges, and reservations nationally and internationally. In the late 1980s and 90s he regularly performed Native American music at Knott’s Berry Farm. He gained wider attention for his participation in the funeral service of Senator Barry Goldwater in ...

Article

Claude Conyers

[John Ewing Richter]

(b New Brunswick, NJ, April 27, 1911; d Los Angeles, Feb 17, 1974). American dancer and choreographer. He left home as a teenager to pursue dance training at the Denishawn studio in New York City. Taking his stage name from his stepfather, he appeared with several modern dance troupes before forming an exhibition dance act and beginning a commercial career dancing in nightclubs. During the late 1930s he danced with a partner and sometimes a small group of backup dancers in supper clubs, hotel ballrooms, and music theaters around the country. His performances, noted for their dramatic flair, brought him profitable jobs on Broadway and eventually led him, in 1941, to Hollywood. There, as dance director at Columbia Pictures, he created memorable ensemble numbers showcasing the talents of such stars as Mitzi Gaynor, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Ann Miller, and Marilyn Monroe. His highly individual dance style emphasized the sensuality of his stars and usually caused trouble with the film censors. More than one of his dance numbers ended up on the cutting-room floor. He created dances for more than thirty films as well as numerous hit shows on Broadway, including ...

Article

Tes Slominski

(b Knockgrania, Co. Sligo, Ireland, Jan 31, 1891; d New York, NY, Jan 4, 1946). American Traditional Irish music fiddler and stepdancer. The most influential Irish fiddler of the 20th century, he first learned tunes and techniques informally from Philip O’Beirne, John O’Dowd, Richard Brennan, and other local musicians, as well as from family members. He was also an accomplished stepdancer who could fiddle and dance simultaneously. Coleman competed in several nationalist festivals, including the Sligo Feis Ceoil and the 1913 Oireachtas, where he encountered musicians from around Ireland, including Bridget Kenny, the so-called Queen of Irish Fiddlers. Soon thereafter, Coleman traded local respect for international fame: he moved to New York in 1914, and after a brief stint in vaudeville on the Keith theater circuit, he embarked on a broadcasting and recording career that produced 80 commercial 78 rpm sides. He married Marie Fanning in 1917, and their one child, Mary, was born in ...

Article

Howard Rye

[Charles (Lester); Honey]

(b Philadelphia, April 2, 1911; d New York, Nov 12, 1992). American dancer. His full name appears in his application for social security. He began his career as one of the Three Millers, who appeared at the Lafayette Theatre, New York, in 1931, but this act was not financially successful and Coles went back to Philadelphia. He was again in New York in 1932; during the 1930s he worked with the Lucky Seven Trio, and in 1938–9 he was in a song and dance act with Bert Howell. He met his future partner Cholly Atkins while working with Cab Calloway in 1940; however, from 1943 he was in the army, and so their act was not formed until 1946. Coles and Atkins performed with the bands of Lionel Hampton, Calloway, Count Basie, Billy Eckstine, and Louis Armstrong, and in 1948 they visited England. From 1949 to 1951 they were featured in the show ...