1-20 of 141 results  for:

  • Media and performing arts x
Clear all

Image

Alvin Ailey Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1955. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92018).

Image

Alvin Ailey Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1955. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114552).

Article

Ailey, Alvin (05 January 1931–01 December 1989), actor, dancer, and choreographer, was born in Rogers, Texas, the son of Alvin Ailey, a laborer, and Lula Elizabeth Cliff, a cotton picker and domestic. Before Ailey was a year old, his father abandoned the family, leaving them homeless for close to six years. During that time Ailey and his mother made their way, often by foot, across the unforgiving terrain of the impoverished and bitterly racist Brazos Valley in southeastern Texas to seek shelter with relatives and find work in nearby fields....

Article

Albertieri, Luigi (1860–25 August 1930), dancer, choreographer, and teacher, was born in Rome, Italy. Little is known of Albertieri’s parents, aside from the fact that his mother was widowed when he was very young. He was adopted at the age of eight by the Italian dancer and ballet master Enrico Cecchetti and Cecchetti’s wife, Giuseppina. Cecchetti had noticed Albertieri in a juvenile opera company’s performance of ...

Article

Amberg, George (28 December 1901–27 July 1971), professor of film and dance critic, was born Hans Aschaffenburg in Halle, Germany, the son of Gustav Aschaffenburg, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist, and Maja Nebel. He was educated in Davos, Switzerland, from 1916 to 1918, at a fashionable boys’ private high school where the kaiser sent his children, and also in Cologne, Munich, and Kiel. In 1923 he founded Cassette, the avant-garde theater in Cologne, and was also a stage director there. From 1924 to 1928 he worked in theatrical festivals with noted German director Gustav Hurtung, first as a dramaturge and play director at the Cologne Theatre, then in 1926 at the Heidelberg Theatre Festival, and thereafter in 1927–1928 as director in the Darmstadt Theatre. Amberg earned his doctorate in December 1930 from the University of Cologne on the German novelist Theodor Fontane as critic. He was also a lecturer and member of the drama department at the university. From 1930 to 1933 Amberg helped to organize the University of Cologne’s theater museum and also established and directed its film library and institute. His published writings from this period concerned the subject of dance. He was a contributing editor on dance to the Ullstein and Herder encyclopedias. Amberg also gave visiting lectures in Berlin, Frankfurt, Zurich, and Basel. He established a cabaret as well, which was usually considered a low-class entertainment venue, but his was experimental theater that included all of the arts....

Image

Fred Astaire. Gelatin silver print, 1936, by unidentified artist. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Article

Astaire, Fred (10 May 1899–22 June 1987), dancer, film star, and choreographer, was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Frederick Austerlitz, an immigrant Austrian brewery employee, and Ann Geilus. Astaire’s sister, Adele Astaire, showed unusual talent in early dancing school recitals and was taken to New York in 1904 by her mother for professional training. Her brother, younger by a year and a half, was enrolled in dancing school with her. In 1906, when Fred was only seven, the two children began performing successfully in vaudeville....

Article

Baby Laurence (24 February 1921–02 April 1974), African-American jazz tap dancer, was born Laurence Donald Jackson in Baltimore, Maryland. His parents’ names and occupations are unknown. He was a boy soprano at age twelve, singing with McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. When the bandleader Don Redman...

Image

George Balanchine In make-up and costume for Don Quixote, with Suzanne Farrell, 1965. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-120878).

Article

Balanchine, George (22 January 1904–30 April 1983), ballet choreographer, was born Georgii Melitonovich Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the son of Meliton Balanchivadze, a composer, and Maria Nikolaevna Vasil’eva. Balanchine was of Georgian extraction on his father’s side; for this reason, he later insisted that his character owed more to Mediterranean culture than to Slav. He began piano lessons at the age of five, studying first with his mother, and was accepted into the ballet section of the Imperial Theater School, Saint Petersburg, in 1913. His financially straitened parents were motivated principally by the chance to secure him a free education. In addition to full board, the school offered a complete academic program as well as the finest dance instruction in the country; graduation guaranteed an income for life, first as a dancer, then as a teacher or coach, all subsidized by the tsar. As was customary for students, during his second year Balanchine performed with the Imperial Ballet troupe on the stage of the famed Maryinsky Theater; this crystallized his desire to dance. The ballet that so inspired him was ...

Article

Bales, William (27 June 1910–08 September 1990), dancer and teacher, was born in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, the son of Sam Bialystotsky and Dora (maiden name unknown), the owners of a fruit and vegetable store. Bales’s older stepsisters, Anne and Gertrude, started the family’s interest in theatrical performance. They studied dance in nearby Pittsburgh, then Gertrude started offering classes in their home. Bales began lessons at age fourteen in tap, acrobatics, and ballroom, but he considered the movies to be equally influential on his dancing, especially the films of ...

Article

Constance Valis Hill

Bates, Peg Leg (11 October 1907–08 December 1998), tap dancer, was born Clayton Bates in Fountain Inn, South Carolina, the son of Rufus Bates, a laborer, and Emma Stewart Bates, a sharecropper and housecleaner. He began dancing when he was five. At twelve, while working in a cotton-seed gin mill, he caught and mangled his left leg in a conveyor belt. The leg was amputated on the kitchen table at his home. Although he was left with only one leg and a wooden peg leg his uncle carved for him, Bates resolved to continue dancing. “It somehow grew in my mind that I wanted to be as good a dancer as any two-legged dancer,” he recalled. “It hurt me that the boys pitied me. I was pretty popular before, and I still wanted to be popular. I told them not to feel sorry for me.” He meant it. He began imitating the latest rhythm steps of metal tap shoe dancers, adding his own novelty and acrobatic steps. He worked his way from minstrel shows and carnivals to the vaudeville circuits. At fifteen, after becoming the undisputed king of one-legged dancers, able to execute acrobatic, graceful soft shoe and powerful rhythm-tapping all with one leg and a peg, he established a professional career as a ....

Article

Beatty, Talley (1919–29 April 1995), choreographer, dancer, and teacher, was born in Cedar Grove, Louisiana, the son of a house painter. His parents’ names are unknown. In the small town of Cedar Grove, right outside Shreveport, Beatty’s earliest dance influence was the legendary Katherine Dunham. When he was eleven years old, she invited him to “watch dances in progress,” according to historian Joe Nash, a close friend and colleague of Beatty. Dunham was in rehearsal for ...

Article

Belcher, Ernest (08 June 1882–24 February 1973), ballet teacher and movie dance director, was born in London, England, the son of Mark Belcher, a butcher, and Emily (maiden name unknown). Belcher attended high school, apprenticed in an architect’s office, and studied piano and painting. Belcher had no exposure to dance or theater until he was sixteen, when attendance at orchestral concerts made him realize that “expression of myself in gesture and movement was to be the great dominating force in my life.” Against the wishes of his parents he began to study dance, first with the music-hall star Ethel Payne, then with Francesca Zanfretta, a well-known ballet teacher in London, and finally with Alexandre Genée, uncle and teacher of the Danish ballerina Adeline Genée. He also studied period and national folk dances with Louis d’Egville and Cormani, Spanish dances under Caroline Otero, Lopes and Tortola Valencia, and Malaganita, and Indian and oriental dances under Roshanara....

Article

Bennett, Michael (08 April 1943–02 July 1987), musical theater director and choreographer, was born Michael Bennett Di Figlia in Buffalo, New York, the son of Salvatore Di Figlia, a machinist, and Helen Turnoff, a secretary. Bennett took weekly dance classes, studying ballet, tap, jazz and modern technique. He attended Hutchinson Central Technical High School for Boys, where he studied architectural design, but at seventeen he dropped out of school to go on a year-long European tour in a production of ...

Article

Judith Brin Ingber

Berk, Fred (25 January 1911–26 February 1980), dancer, was born Fritz Berger in Vienna, Austria, the son of Jacob Berger, a dairy owner, and Henrietta Blau. Berk was born into a Viennese Orthodox Jewish family to a stern father who apprenticed him at age fourteen to a goldsmith. Hunching over his metalwork led to back problems and the medical suggestion to study dance. This began a career that spanned continents and decades....

Article

Berkeley, Busby (29 November 1895–14 March 1976), stage and film choreographer and director, was born Busby Berkeley William Enos in Los Angeles, California, the son of Francis Enos, a stage director, and Gertrude Berkeley, a character actress. Berkeley’s mother and father were associated with the Tim Frawley Repertory Company. Although they wanted to spare him the life of the theater, he soon joined them on stage. After his father’s death in 1902, Berkeley became devoted to his mother, who, until her own death in 1948, remained a strong influence on him. While his mother performed with ...

Article

See Berry Brothers

Article

See Berry Brothers

Article

See Berry Brothers