When life presents an opportunity, you should take it, no matter the challenges ahead. This summer, I was presented an opportunity to be a part of Broadway Dance Center’s Junior Training Program in New York City. I had been to New York previously and taken classes at BDC, and they don’t mess around. Everyone who’s there walks in with a purpose; there’s no room for laziness.
A few days after class, we would get an email from Katelin with an encouraging message, list of songs we used in class, and video links to iconic dances from the era. It was at this point that I realized Katelin is happily going above and beyond in teaching her first Absolute Beginner Workshop and I’m getting waaay more than my money’s worth!
Yes, that’s Bernadette Peters’ voice you hear singing “Star Tar” from the original Off-Broadway cast album of Dames at Sea. The new Broadway production’s director/choreographer Randy Skinner held a master tap class at the Broadway Dance Center, proving that classic American dance style is alive and very well.
BROADWAY DANCE CENTER: WHERE NEW YORK’S FINEST GATHER TO GET DOWN
If anything, Broadway Dance Center — the hub of all things movement in New York City — lives up to its name. Yet, while it’s intended for professionals, it’s still great for noobs. I found BDC to be oddly welcoming to the outsider who was interested in dropping in for a formal dance party.
Last week Broadway Dance Center was honored to host our first Fosse Week, a full five days of theatre master classes taught by veteran Fosse dancers who have been sanctioned by the Verdon Fosse Estate. The prestigious faculty included Mimi Quillin, Dana Moore, Lloyd Culbreath, BDC’s own Diana Laurenson, as well as a special appearance by Nicole Fosse. The lucky participants who signed-in early (the classes maxed out every day) learned some of Bob Fosse’s legendary technique, style, and repertoire in pieces such as “Big Spender” (Sweet Charity), “Dancin’ Man” (Dancin’), “I Love a Piano” (The Ed Sullivan Show), “Cool Hand Luke” (The Ed Sullivan Show), and “Tijuana Breakfast” (The Ed Sullivan Show).
Bob Fosse’s signature style is everywhere – from Broadway shows to MTV. Fosse’s is probably the most imitated choreography…ever. Have you seen Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” music video? Many say that Fosse’s “Tijuana Breakfast” inspired her stylized choreo. Not to mention Bey’s “Get Me Bodied” music video which was obviously taking from Fosse’s “Rich Man’s Frug.” And how about the King of Pop? Watch a clip of Fosse’s “Snake in the Grass” followed by Michael Jackson’s performance of “Billy Jean.” If Beyonce’s the “Queen” and Michael Jackson’s the “King,” what does that make their inspiration, Bob Fosse?
Given Fosse’s legendary influence on the world of dance, it was truly incredible to learn some of his original choreography from his own dancers. Mimi, Diana, Dana, and Lloyd each told tips and anecdotes from their experience working with Bob. Even though Bob Fosse is no longer with us, his aura lives on.
Bonnie Erickson, Director of Educational Programming at BDC, said,“We’re so honored to present this work and so happy that it was such a rousing success. At BDC we’re so dedicated to preserving this epic work and making sure to pass it along to younger dancers. Can’t wait for the next set of workshops!”
Yes, you read that right. Stay tuned for another magical Fosse Week at Broadway Dance Center in the new year!
A happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Broadway Dance Center! What better way to express your gratitude for dance (and dance off that turkey!) than to dance for a cause?
Next week (November 24-December 1) Broadway Dance Center will donate a portion of the proceeds from select classes to Dancers Responding to AIDS (DRA).
Dancers Responding to AIDS is a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Funds raised by DRA are distributed through Broadway Cares to AIDS and family-service organizations nationwide and to the essential social service programs of The Actors Fund. The Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS information below is inclusive of DRA’s efforts.