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Sharon O’Connell Campbell

(Lenore )

(b Statesboro, GA, March 18, 1975). American performer. Embodying the “triple-threat” performance model of singer, actor, and dancer, Sutton Foster enjoyed a rapid rise to musical theater stardom. Foster debuted on Broadway in 1993 as a chorus member and understudy for Eponine in Les Misérables (opened 1987), then played Sandy Dumbrowski in Grease (1994). She appeared in Annie (1997) and The Scarlet Pimpernel (1997). Foster created the role of Thoroughly Modern Millie’s Millie Dillmount in California tryouts in 2000. Despite being little-known, she was cast for the show’s Broadway (2002) opening; her performance earned Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress in a Musical, and an Astaire Award for Best Female Dancer. Subsequently, Foster created the roles of Jo in Little Women (2005), Janet Van De Graaff in The Drowsy Chaperone (...

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Howard Rye

[Leslie ]

(b Waycross, GA, Feb 12, 1913; d New York, June 30, 1997). American tap-dancer. His birthdate appears in his application for social security; the place of his birth and details of his death are in the New York Times obituary. Gaines started dancing in 1932 as a member of the Three Dukes (comprising Gaines, James Hudson, and Arthur Russell), with whom he may be seen in the short film Mills Blue Rhythm Band (1933) performing I would do anything for you and The Peanut Vendor. They also worked with Duke Ellington. In 1934 the Three Dukes toured Britain and Europe with Cab Calloway. They returned to Britain in 1936 for a variety tour and remained in Europe until 1939, during which time they held an extended residency at the Casino de Paris. Gaines took part in many USO tours from 1951 to 1971, when he retired. In ...

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Howard Rye

[Royce Edward ]

(b Baltimore, April 6, 1928). American tap-dancer. He grew up in Detroit, where in an amateur show he won a prize of a job at the Flame Club, which he held for 13 weeks. In the 1950s he worked with Lionel Hampton and Cab Calloway’s Cotton Club Show (1957), among others, and also undertook tours nationwide and with the USO; a later USO tour brought him to Europe in 1962. In 1963 Gaines traveled to London to perform at the Pigalle nightclub; he then settled in Britain and resided for many years in Rotherham, Yorkshire. Initially he worked alternately in Britain and in Germany. In Britain he was active both as a swing dancer with Alex Welsh and Humphrey Lyttelton and also in bop or free improvisation contexts with Ronnie Scott, Stan Tracey, Derek Bailey, John Stevens, and many others. In 1995, with Bailey, he made the video ...

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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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Isabelle Henrion-Dourcy

(b Pa-snam dBang-ldan, 1918; d Lhasa, 1998). Tibetan gar master. He was selected at the age of nine to be a gar dancer at the court of the 13th Dalai Lama and became teacher of the troupe at 21 and director at 32, while studying literature with dGe-‘dun Chos-‘phel. He worked as a lay official (zhol-drung) in the ‘old’ (pre-communist) Tibetan government and was the first gar master to be promoted to the seventh rank of its administrative hierarchy. He developed the instrumental technique of the gar tradition. In 1982, after more than 20 years in prison, he initiated the resurrection of gar music and dances and was appointed music teacher at Tibet University (Lhasa). With bSod-nams Dar-rgyas Zhol-khang, he was regarded as an authority on various kinds of folksongs, sitting at most of the government conferences on traditional Tibetan performing arts. In 1985 and 1997...

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Maureen Needham Costonis

(b Nancy, Feb 4, 1758; d Paris, Oct 18, 1840). French dancer and ballet-master . He made his début as a danseur noble in 1774. He was trained by his brother, Maximilien Léopold Philippe Joseph Gardel (b Mannheim, 18 Dec 1741; d Paris, 11 March 1787), a dancer at the Opéra since 1755 and assistant ballet-master from 1773. The elder Gardel had made a sensation there in 1772 when, asked to replace Gaetano Vestris in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux, he had removed the traditional mask. In 1783 Maximilien became principal ballet-master and Pierre was appointed his assistant. He became principal ballet-master in 1787 and held the post for more than 40 years. Grimm described him as a worthy successor to Noverre, and Bournonville claimed that ‘no one was able to rival’ his opera dances, citing the ‘wealth of invention’ in such works as Le Sueur and Persuis’ ...

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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 ...

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Greg Downey

[Mestre João Grande; dos Santos, João Olivera]

(b Itají, Bahia, Brazil, Jan 15, 1933). Brazilian teacher and master practitioner of capoeira angola. After migrating from rural Bahia to Salvador, he learned capoeira in the Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola under the legendary mestre Vicente Ferreira Pastinha. Influenced also by such veteran practitioners as Cobrinha Verde and Barbosa, he became a widely respected capoeirista, adept at the art’s movements, songs, and instrumental music, especially that of the berimbau, a musical bow. João Grande and three other students accompanied Pastinha to Senegal for the first World Festival of Black Arts in 1966. He later joined Viva Bahia, a folk dance troupe directed by Emília Biancardi, touring Europe in 1976 and was publicly recognized as a successor by Pastinha. In 1990 he moved to New York, where he established the Capoeira Angola Center of João Grande. He has received a medal from the Brazilian ministry of sports (...

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Howard Rye

[Samuel Christopher ]

(b Fitzgerald, GA, Nov 6, 1918; d Oakland, CA, March 6, 1997). American tap-dancer. His given name and birthdate are found in the California death index. He began his dancing career on the sidewalks of Atlanta and before the age of nine had formed the act Chuck & Chuckles with James Walker. After they moved to New York in 1931, Green became a protégé of John Bubbles. Chuck & Chuckles toured widely, working in theaters with several leading big bands, including that of Chick Webb, and dancing at clubs through the 1940s. They broke up in the late 1940s, and Green continued with a solo act. In the 1960s he appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival and at the Village Vanguard accompanied by Jo Jones (1964). From 1969 he was a moving force in the Hoofers Club. He performed at the Riverside Studios in London in ...

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Kate Van Winkle Keller

(fl. 1784–1800). American dancing master and choreographer. Griffiths was the earliest-known choreographer to publish his work in the United States. He issued a collection of country dances and cotillions (Providence, 1788), and an expanded collection with instructions for polite deportment (Northampton, 1794). The whole or partial contents of these books were reprinted by several rural New England and New York publishers over the next 15 years. A broadside of the deportment rules was printed separately. Griffiths based his activities in New York (1784–7, 1796–9?) and Boston (1788–94), and taught in smaller towns in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and upstate New York. In 1800 he moved to Charleston, South Carolina, perhaps via Philadelphia. Through his publications and itinerant teaching, Griffiths strongly influenced the repertory of social dancing and behavior in New York and New England ballrooms in the early Federal period. Some of his choreographies, notably “Fisher’s Hornpipe,” are still danced today. Griffiths may have composed several tunes for use in his classes, such as “Griffiths Whim,” “Griffiths Fancy,” and “Duo Minuet.” And he may have been related to one of the Griffiths families active on the English stage during the second half of the 18th century....

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(b Modena, c 1700; d Naples, ?1774). Italian dancer, choreographer and impresario . He spent the early part of his career in Venice, where he created ballets for more than 40 operas, 1720–45. His name first appears as a choreographer for the 1720 Ascension season (Orlandini’s Griselda) at the Teatro S Samuele, here he worked for 11 Ascension seasons (later productions included works by Porpora, Albinoni and Galuppi, and Gluck’s Demetrio in 1742). He also choreographed at S Giovanni Grisostomo (24 operas, 1722–45, including Porpora’s Siface, Meride e Selinunte, Rosbale and Statira, and Hasse’s Alessandro nell’Indie and Semiramide riconosciuta) and at S Angelo, S Cassiano, and S Moisè. At the Teatro Falcone in Genoa (1731) and the Regio Ducal Teatro in Milan (1732–3, Lampugnani’s Candace; 1737–40, works by Bernasconi, Brivio and Leo) he worked with his wife Maria, a Venetian ballerina. While in Milan Goldoni, who knew the couple from Venice, spent an evening at their home, in his ...

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(b Paris, bap. Dec 27, 1743; d Paris, May 4, 1816). French dancer. In 1758 or 1759, at about the age of 16, she joined the corps de ballet at the Comédie Française. In 1762 she was hired as a dancer and understudy to Mlle Allard at the Opéra, making a successful début in Les caractères de la danse. On 9 May 1762, standing in for an injured Mlle Allard, she took the principal role of Terpsichore in the prologue of Fuzelier's ballet Les fêtes grecques et romaines. By 1763 she was première danseuse noble at the Opéra and quickly became one of the favourite dancers of the time. The choreographer Noverre observed that she ‘danced tastefully and put expression and feeling into all her movements’, while Baron Grimm found her simplicity ‘artless without being foolish’. Her dancing continued to elicit praise, despite her relatively advanced age of 46, when she performed at the King's Theatre, London, in ...

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Elizabeth Aldrich

[Frederick]

(b Trinidad, CO, April 23, 1909; d New York, NY, Nov 23, 1994). American dancer and choreographer. After graduating from Harvard University in 1930, Hawkins went to Austria to study modern dance with Harald Kreutzberg. Upon returning to the United States, he enrolled in the School of American Ballet in 1934, founded that year by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. Hawkins danced from 1935 to 1937 in the American Ballet (later the New York City Ballet). In 1937 he received his first commission for a ballet, Show Piece, to a score by Robert McBride. After studies with noted American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, Hawkins joined her company as its first male dancer and created leading roles in many of her most celebrated works, such as the Husbandman in Appalachian Spring (1944). (Hawkins and Graham were married from 1948 to 1954.) After leaving Graham’s company in ...

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(Anton Christoph)

(bap. Vienna, Nov 17, 1710; d Vienna, May 30, 1768). Austrian dancer, choreographer and impresario. He was a member of a large theatrical dynasty active in Vienna from at least the 1660s. His father, Johann Baptist Hilverding, had been an associate of the famous Hanswurst Josef Anton Stranitzky, and his elder brother Johann Peter Hilverding led various troupes of German actors, ending his career in Russia. Franz Hilverding’s principal training – at the emperor’s expense – was with the dancer Blondy in Paris during the mid-1730s. While there he probably witnessed performances of Fuzelier and Rameau’s opéra-balletLes Indes galantes, an entrée of which, Le Turc généreux, he later imitated in a pantomime ballet. Hilverding’s sojourn in Paris almost certainly contributed significantly to his overall cultural education; his knowledge of literature and skill as a draughtsman and composer of music were thought unusual in a choreographer.

By 1737 he was engaged as a dancer at the Habsburg court, where he soon began composing ballets alongside Alexander and Franz Anton Phillebois. According to his pupil Gasparo Angiolini’s account, the period of mourning after the death of Charles VI in ...