“She said YES!”

Saturday, June 9th seemed like just your typical summer day in New York City.  After a short, warm summer rain, the Bryant Park lawn was soon crowded with people: a young couple on a picnic date, an acrobatic yoga class, curious toddlers with their mommies and daddies, and tourists from all across the world.  But this was no ordinary Saturday in the park – here’s why:

You cried, didn’t you?

This real-life fairy tale was choreographed by Broadway Dance Center’s own Derek Mitchell, assisted by Emily Greenwell, and performed by BDC’s Educational Program students and alumni. The amazing spectacle was even featured on Piers Morgan’s talk show!

Really, who needs Disneyland when Broadway Dance Center can make all your dreams come true?!

“Dancing for them was an amazing experience, I love to make people smile. Being part of one of the happiest days of that couple’s life made my entire life.” Andy Caballero (BDC ISVP ’11-12)

“It makes me happy to make someone happy.” Nallely Aquirre (BDC  ISVP ’11-’12)

“It meant a lot to me to be a part of that special day. It was such an amazing feeling knowing that all of us together made that day an unforgettable one in those two peoples’ lives. Love and dance is all we need!” Bella Takkunen

“It was an amazing opportunity to be a part of something so special. Seeing the Bride to be so happy and surprised was such a touching feeling. It makes me happy to know I was a part of the next chapter of 2 people’s lives.” Alex Vari (BDC PS ’12)

Dance-Related Careers

Dance Teacher

Jim Cooney teaches Theater dance at Broadway Dance Center and is also the Faculty Adviser for BDC’s Professional Semester and Summer Intern Program.  Cooney was dance captain for the revived national tour of The Music Man and was part of the original company of Nights on Broadway.  In addition to teaching, Cooney has choreographed for countless events and organizations such as “The Today Show,” “Extreme Home Makeover,” Bloomingdale’s, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week,and the NephCure Foundation.

Choreographer

Dan Knechtges received his BFA in musical theater from Otterbein College in Westerville, OH.  His Broadway choreography credits include Sondheim on SondheimThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling BeeXanadu110 in the Shade, and Lysistrata Jones.  Additionally, Knechtges choreographs for TV/film, concert dance, and opera, directs productions such as Encores! Merrily We Roll Along, and teaches at dance studios and universities across the country.

Professor

Gail Abrams is a Professor of Dance at Scripps College in Claremont, California. She received her master’s in Dance from The American University and certification from the Laban Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies.  Abrams teaches Beginning Dance, Modern I and II, Laban Movement Analysis, and Dynamics of Human Movement courses.

Company Director

Heidi Latksy gained recognition as a principal dancer for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.  In 2001 she formed her own modern company, Heidi Latsky Dance (HLD), which has toured at theaters, festivals, and universities in the United States and Europe.  “The mission [of HLD] is to bring contemporary dance to a broad audience in a visceral and emotional way with performers whose unique attributes, physical and otherwise, are honored and utilized in highly dynamic, virtuosic and provocative ways; and to expose people to alternative ways of looking at their lives through community programs that emphasize discourse, experiential risk-taking and body work.”

Talent Agent

Jim Daly started his career as a singer in New York City.  When he saw the chaos in his own agency, he offered to become an assistant to his agent.  Daly now works as the “legit” talent agent (focus on film, TV, and theater) for Bloc.

Nutritionist

Emily Cook Harrison danced with the Atlanta Ballet, Smuin Ballet, Boston Ballet II, and Ballet Internationale before attaining her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nutrition from Georgia State University.  She is now the head of the Centre for Dance Nutrition, associated with the Atlanta Ballet.

Non-profit Director

After touring around the world as a professional ballerina (Bolshoi Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, American Festival Ballet), Jane Bonbright went on to pursue her master’s and doctorate degrees in Dance Education.  Bonbright founded the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) in 1998 to promote quality dance education in the United States.

Patriotic Performances

Most Americans celebrate the 4th of July with hot dogs, apple pie, and fireworks…But really, what better way is there to celebrate America’s birthday than with dance?  Here are a few famous patriotic performances:

“Stars and Stripes” was choreographed by George Balancine on the New York City Ballet in 1958.  The piece, which lasts around 28 minutes and is divided into four sections, is set to the music of John Philip Sousa.  “Stars and Stripes” illustrates all things “4th of July” with the dancers baton-twirling, marching, and even bearing rifles!  This video is part of the 4th act, or campaign, which was also featured in the film, “Center Stage.”

Known as “America’s Sweethearts,” the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders often perform for American troops stationed overseas.  Here is a clip from their visit to US Army soldiers in Korea.

“The Will Rogers Follies” was a 1991 Tony award-winning musical (Best Musical, Score, Choreography, Direction, Costumes, and Lighting!) highlighting the life of the legendary American performer, Will Rogers (American cowboy, vaudeville performer, humorist, social commentator and motion picture actor).  This number, “Our Favorite Son,” incorporates some pretty complex precision dance!

Hines Ward and Kym Johnson performed a rumba routine to “Proud to be an American” during the 2011 season of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Besides the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the Rockettes perform throughout the year at various events and celebrations.  In 2001 they performed “Parade,” an all-American tap dance,  at George W. Bush’s Presidential Inauguration.

Movie Musicals

musical (noun): a stage, television or film production utilizing popular-style songs – dialogue optional – to either tell a story (book musicals) or showcase the talents of the writers and/or performers (revues).

The best musicals have three essential qualities –

Brains – intelligence and style

Heart – genuine and believable emotion

Courage – the guts to do something creative and exciting.

“What is a Musical?” by John Kenrick

The 1930s through the 1960s were considered the “Golden Age” of movie musicals.  With the advancement of film technology, Hollywood brought the thrill of the theater to the big screen complete with well-known songs, elaborate dances, lavish sets, and brilliant stars such as Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Mickey Rooney, and Judy Garland. During a time of financial and political instability, movie musicals revived hope and optimism amongst the American public.

  • 42nd Street
  • Swing Time
  • Babes In Arms
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Babes In Toyland
  • Singin’ In The Rain
My favorite movie musical is definitely “Singing in the Rain.” It’s the all time classic musical with fantastic dance routines, costumes and songs. With a mix of comedy and amour, it is the perfect date film. Gene Kelly’s masculine perfection and Debbie Reyonlds’ tough femininity work in perfect sync. You can sing along, cry along and laugh along! – Kayla Janssen (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Annie Get Your Gun
  • The Band Wagon
  • Brigadoon
  • Meet Me In St. Louis
  • The King And I
  • Stormy Weather
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • Seven Brides For Seven Brothers
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • Easter Parade
  • Anything Goes
  • White Christmas
  • Gigi
  • Carousel
  • Pal Joey
  • Oklahoma!
  • South Pacific
  • Damn Yankees
  • The Pajama Game
  • Show Boat
  • An American In Paris
I have many favorites – but I love “An American in Paris!”  – Megan Shuffle (BDC Groups Director)
  • Porgy and Bess
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • Top Hat
  • On the Town
  • Guys and Dolls

The 1960s witnessed more direct restagings of Broadway musicals from stage to screen.

  • Mary Poppins
  • Oklahoma!
  • Sweet Charity
  • The Unsinkable Molly Brown
  • Kismet
  • Camelot
  • West Side Story
West Side Story… it was one of the first move musicals I ever saw and I remember saying to myself “It is okay to be a guy and dance. They are doing it.” I remember being a kid and anytime I was in a parking garage, I would start doing my version of COOL. I would get some interesting looks. – Ricky Hinds (BDC Theater teacher, Associate Director of “Newsies” on Broadway)
  • The Sound of Music
  • My Fair Lady
  • Funny Girl
  • The Music Man
  • Gypsy
  • Hello Dolly
  • Bye Bye Birdie
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie
I love “Thoroughly Modern Millie!”  It is the most unappreciated, underrated movie musical of all time!  It’s hilarious, quirky, and inspiring with a dynamite cast of Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Channing, and James Fox. – Becky Stout (BDC student)
  • Oliver
  • How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

The 1970s movie musicals, however, were not the joyous and idyllic films of the Golden Age.  Rather, filmmakers focused on rock n’ roll and stark realism that was influenced by the hippie movement, the Vietnam and Cold Wars, and American individualism.

  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Grease
Grease! I’ve watched that movie so many times! The music is catchy, and stays in your head. The dancing is energetic and vibrant! Just a great movie! – Nikki Croker (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory
  • Godspell
  • Fiddler On The Roof
  • Hair
  • Cabaret
  • All That Jazz
I love “All That Jazz.”  It’s essentially a sort of autobiography of Bob Fosse and the dancing just can’t be beat.  The story is so raw and real – it really illustrates the up’s and down’s of “showbusiness.” – Mary Callahan (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Mame
  • Tommy
  • The Wiz

The 1980s/1990s attempted to boost the movie musical genre with the generous help of financial backers.

  • Xanadu
  • Annie
  • Victor, Victoria
  • The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
  • Fame
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Evita
  • Flashdance
  • Dirty Dancing
  • A Chorus Line

The Disney animated-musicals also thrived during the 1980s and 1990s.

  • Pocahontas
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Aladdin
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Lion King
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

Since 2000, movie musicals have continued to rise in popularity, with stage to screen adaptations, remakes, animated films, and brand new shows busting out all over.

  • Rock of Ages
“Rock of Ages!” – because I am obsessed with their styling/outfits and the music… I love the 80s and that was my all time favorite musical to watch!  Plus Russell Brand is in it…which basically sells it! – Kimberly Hamilton (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Hairspray
“Hairspray” was first a movie, then a musical, then a movie again!  It’s the quintessential movie musical! I love the magnetic energy of the film.  The story line is fun with such a wonderful underlying theme.  I want to jump up and “pony” every time I watch the movie…and I do!- Lizz Picini (BDC Assistant Groups Director)
  • Footloose
  • Les Miserables
  • RENT
  • Fame
  • Dreamgirls
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Chicago
“Chicago!”  Everything about the movie is just brilliant.  It is so different from the stage version, yet so good in its own way.  The lighting, costumes, camera movement, and cast are amazing! – Molly Day (Professional Semester S’12)
  • Moulin Rouge

“Moulin Rouge” is my all-time favorite movie musical. The combination of genius cinematography, a fatally twisted love story with demonic undertones, and a new spin on songs we know and love make it a “Spectacular, Spectacular” film. – Carie Jurcak (BDC Educational Programs Student Advisor)

  • Enchanted
  • Phantom of the Opera
My favorite modern musical is “Phantom” because it really communicates the depth behind each of the characters’ emotions and motives.  And the cinematography is gorgeous! – Lily Lewis (Summer Intern ’12)
  • Fame
  • The Producers
  • Sweeney Todd
I liked Sweeney Todd! Music was incredible. I could tell they really took it seriously. Orchestrations are PRICELESS. – Michael Petrowski (ISVP ’11)
  • Across the Universe
  • Burlesque
  • Sparkle
  • High School Musical

While Broadway will always remain the pinnacle of live musical theater, film has brought the joy of the theater to audiences all over the world.

Here are the TOP 10 movie musicals of all time!

  1. Singin’ in the Rain
  2. The Wizard of Oz
  3. The Sound of Music
  4. The Music Man
  5. West Side Story
  6. My Fair Lady
  7. Cabaret
  8. Meet Me in St. Louis
  9. The King and I
  10. An American in Paris

“Jack’s Back!”

Last week marked the final performances (for now, at least) of “Jack’s Back,” a clever new musical romp about the notorious Jack the Ripper.  The funny and fresh new musical at the T. Schreiber Studio and Theatre  tells the tale of “Herbert Wingate, an audacious cockney sausage stuffer, struggles to make the gas-lit streets of Whitechapel safe from the ruthless murderer. Herbert’s wild and zany schemes offer a hilarious and heartfelt new take on the centuries old tale” (tschreiber.org).

Alexa Erbach

Romain Rachline
Julia Udine
The off-off-Broadway musical comedy stars a number of Broadway Dance Center alumni including Julia Udine (Professional Semester, S’12), Romain Rachline (ISVP ’11-’12), and Alexa Erbach (Professional Semester, F’11).  Additionally, “Jack’s Back” was choreograhed by Bronwen Carson who teaches Acting for Dancers at BDC.

If you weren’t able to make it over to “Jack’s Back,” 1) you missed out, but 2) do not despair – there are high hopes that the show will return to the stage soon.  You can help make this possible by voting for “Jack’s Back” for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards.

Voting is simple:

1.  Go to: http://www.nyitawards.com/vote/ and select “audience ballot”

2. Select “Register to Vote” and fill in the online form

3. Check your email for instructions on how to vote

Discounted Tickets

Broadway/Off-Broadway:

  • 20%-50% discounted tickets (to select shows, subject to change) at the TKTS booth in Times Square.  Booth opens at 10am for matinee performances and 3pm for evening performances (check TKTS website for specific hours).
  • ~$30 rush tickets are often available the day of a performances.  Check a theater’s specific website for rules and regulations (ie. what ID is necessary, when to line up, etc.).  Popular shows such as “Wicked” and “The Book of Mormon” hold a lottery for rush tickets.
  • ~$20 are less common standing room tickets.  These can be purchased about 2 hours prior to a show’s sold-out performance.
  • During “Broadway Week” you can get 2-for-1 tickets to Broadway shows.
  • Other discount ticket websites: Broadway Box, NY Tix, and Theater Mania – these sites also have tickets available for dance concerts/company performances such as the American Ballet Theater and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

New York City Ballet:

  • $15 student-rush tickets can be purchased on the day of a performance either online or in person.  These tickets are available for full-time high school and college students up to age 29.
  • $15 tickets for the “fourth-ring” rows C-O of the theater.

Joyce Theater:

New York City Center:

  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) program for students – simply fill out the online application to receive periodic e-mails about discounted shows for students.
  • “Fall for Dance” is a 10-day dance festival starring companies from all over the world.  ALL tickets are just $10 but the festival sells out within hours.

Carnegie Hall:

  • $10 student rush tickets.  Simply present your student ID at the Box Office on 57th and 7th to purchase up to 2 discounted tickets.

Madison Square Garden & Radio City Music Hall:

  • Sign-up for the MSG Insider to receive e-mails about upcoming presales and discounts.

66th Annual Tony Awards

Last Friday night was the the 66th annual Tony Awards, the brightest night of the year for the Broadway theater community.  You probably already know that “Once” took the top awards of “Best Musical” and “Best Leading Actor.”  5-time Tony winner, Audra McDonald snagged “Best Leading Actress in a Musical.”  And the high-energy, tumbling tricks of “Newsies” was a shoe-in for “Best Choreography.”  But what determines “best” choreography?  Theater critic, Alastair Macaulay, writes “There is no single method for choreography to succeed in a musical: It may be a source of isolated highlights or a unifying thread.”  The competition is also an important factor in determining the year’s winner.  For example, Michael Bennett’s “A Chorus Line” beat out Bob’s Fosse’s “Chicago” back in 1976.  Some of the most renowned “dance musicals” didn’t even win “Best Choreography” (“White Christmas,” “Hairspray,” and “Come Fly Away”).   Here’s a brief list of the past Tony winners for “Best Choreography.”

1947 – Agnes de Mille (Brigadoon) & Michael Kidd (Finian’s Rainbow)

1948 – Jerome Robbins (High Button Shoes)

1949 – Grover Champion (Lend an Ear)

1950 – Helen Tamiris (Touch and Go)

1951 – Michael Kidd (Guys and Dolls)

1952 – Robert Alton (Pal Joey)

1953 – Donald Saddler (Wonderful Town)

1954 – Michael Kidd (Can-Can)

1955 – Bob Fosse (The Pajama Game)

1956 – Bob Fosse (Damn Yankees)

1957 – Michael Kidd (Li’l Abner)

1958 – Jerome Robbins (West Side Story)

1959 – Bob Fosse (Redhead)

1960 – Michael Kidd (Destry Rides Again)

1961 – Gower Champion (Bye Bye Birdie)

1962 – Joe Layton (No Strings)

1963 – Bob Fosse (Little Me)

1964 – Gower Champion (Hello Dolly!)

1965 – Jerome Robbins (Fiddler on the Roof)

1966 – Bob Fosse (Sweet Charity)

1967 – Ron Field (Cabaret)

1968 – Gower Champion (The Happy Time)

1969 – Joe Layton (George M!)

1970 – Ron Field (Applause)

1971 – Donald Saddler (No, No, Nanette)

1972 – Michael Bennett (Follies)

1973 – Bob Fosse (Pippin)

1974 – Michael Bennett (Seesaw)

1975 – George Faison (The Wiz)

1976 – Michael Bennett & Bob Avian (A Chorus Line)

1977 – Peter Gennaro (Annie)

1978 – Bob Fosse (Dancin’)

1979 – Michael Bennett & Bob Avian (Ballroom)

1980 – Tommy Tune & Thommie Walsh (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine)

1981 – Gower Champion (42nd Street)

1982 – Michael Bennett & Michael Peters (Dreamgirls)

1983 – Tommy Tune & Thommie Walsh (My One and Only)

1984 – Danny Daniels (The Tap Dance Kid)

1986 – Bob Fosse (Big Deal)

1987 – Gillian Gregory (Me and My Girl)

1988 – Michael Smuin (Anything Goes)

1989 – Cholly Atkins, Henry LeTang, Frankie Manning, & Rayard Nicholas (Black and Blue)

1990 – Tommy Tune (Grand Hotel)

1991 – Tommy Tune (The Will Rogers Follies)

1992 – Susan Stroman (Crazy for You)

1993 – Wayne Cilento (The Who’s Tommy)

1994 – Kenneth MacMillan (Carousel)

1995 – Susan Stroman (Show Boat)

1996 – Savion Glover (Bring in ‘da Noise/Bring in ‘da Funk)

1997 – ann Reinking (Chicago0

1998 – Garth Fagan (The Lion King)

1999 – Matthew Bourne (Swan Lake)

2000 – Susan Stroman (Contact)

2001 – Susan Stroman (The Producers)

2002 – Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie)

2003 – Twyla Tharp (Movin’ Out)

2004 – Kathleen Marshall (Wonderful Town)

2005 – Jerry Mitchell (La Cage aux Folles)

2006 – Kathleen Marshall (The Pajama Game)

2007 – Bill T. Jones (Spring Awakening)

2008 – Andy Blankenbuehler (In The Heights)

2009 – Peter Darling (Billy Elliot the Musical)

2010 – Bill T. Jones (Fela!)

2011 – Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes)

2012 – Christopher Gattelli (Newsies)

Check out this New York Times article: Judging Tony Nominees by Their Dance Numbers