Jack Cole (1911-1974)
Jack Cole is known as the Father of Jazz Dance Technique and Father of Theater Dance. Cole started out as a modern dancer but during the Great Depression he switched to the jazz style of dancing. He is famous for combining jazz steps with modern and ethnic dances. Some of his famous choreographies include “Man of La Mancha”, “There´s No Business Like Show Busines” and “Les Girls”.
Eugene Louis “Luigi” Faccuito (1925-2015)
Luigi is a dancer whose physical handicap from a car accident made him create a new style of jazz dance. He improvised the jazz steps by incorporating warm-up and stretching exercises into dance routines. He is referred to as an Ambassador of Jazz, a Pioneer, the Teacher’s Teacher and a Body Doctor.
Busby Berkeley (1895-1976)
Berkeley is a movie director and a choreographer. Berkeley is born from a family with theatrical talents. He introduced new techniques in the manipulation of the camera. He is famous for using chorus girls in uniform costumes doing unison movements, which are sometimes vulgar. The background that he utilizes are usually very extravagant and colorful.
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (1878-1949)
Robinson is an African American tap dancer and actor who was initially a vaudeville performer and later had a career in Broadway and Hollywood. He became famous for his “stair dance” in the Broadway musical “Blackbirds”. He introduced a new tap dance routine which is characterized by a light, swinging style as opposed to the customary flat-footed style. To honor the contribution of Robinson in tap dancing, Congress declared May 25, Robinson’s birth day as National Tap Dance Day.
Bob Fosse (1927-1987)
Fosse is a choreographer and a director. He started performing at vaudevilles at a young age, being a son of a vaudevillian. He enhanced his craft by attending a small dance institution in their neighborhood and later attended the Frederick Weaver Ballet School. His dancing style is characterized by shoulder and hip rolls and single-handed gestures. His achievements include winning eight Tony Awards for choreography among which are “Cabaret” and “Chicago”.
Agnes de Mille (1905-1993)
A dancer and choreographer, Agnes de Mille is known for choreographing dances which have a narrative aspect. She introduced innovations in the cultural dance forms during her time by including lyricism and comedy in her choreography. She is best remembered for her choreography of the musicals “Oklahoma”, “One Touch of Venus” and “Carousel”.
Gene Kelly (1912-1996)
Kelly is an actor, singer, dancer, choreographer and a film director and producer. As a child, while his friends were interested in playing baseball, he directed his energy towards taking dance lessons. He is considered as the King of the Musicals during the 1940s and 50s. Most notable among his performances is his role in “Singing in the Rain”. He is known for solo dancing which can blend well into the mass movement. His inspiration in dancing is the common man in common settings.
Jerome Robbins (1918-1998)
Robbins is a famous ballet and Broadway musical choreographer and director. He introduced innovation in ballet by focusing on subjects which are about the American way of living and he incorporated dancing in the theater. Among his famous works are the classics “Fiddler on the Roof”, “West Side Story” and “The King and I”. He is an Oscar, Emmy and Tony awardee.
Fred Astaire (1899-1987)
An American actor, dancer, singer, musician and choreographer, Astaire is known for his numerous musical comedy films. As a child, he performed with his sister, Adele in vaudevilles and later on in Broadway. He is known for his “elegant and seemingly effortless dance style”. His achievements include an Academy and Emmy Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film institute.
Gus Giordano (1923-2008)
Giordano is a jazz dancer and choreographer. His interest in dancing can be seen even while he was in the military during World War II, where he would perform in shows at the bases. He is credited for being the organizer of the first Jazz Dance World Congress in 1990. He is also the author of “Anthology of American Jazz Dance” and “Jazz Dance Class: Beginning Thru Advanced”. He established the Giordano Dance School in Chicago and the Giordano Dance Company.
A&E Television Networks, LLC. "Fred Astaire." 2015. Biography.com. Document. 21 April 2015.
Hanson, Rachel. "Famous Jazz Dancers." 2015. LoveToKnow Corp. Web site. Document. 21 April 2015.
Slam Dancing Productions. "Jazz dance choreographers. Teachers. Performers." n.d. Slamdancingproductions.com. Document. 21 April 2015.