1-20 of 112 results  for:

  • Media and performing arts x
  • dancer (general) 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 ...

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...

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

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

See Berry Brothers

Article

See Berry Brothers

Article

See Berry Brothers

Article

Bolger, Ray (10 January 1904–15 January 1987), comedy-actor and dancer, was born Raymond Wallace Bolger in Dorchester, near Boston, Massachusetts, the son of James Edward Bolger, a painter, and Anne Wallace. After he graduated from Dorchester High School in 1920, Bolger initially was employed in office work, including positions with First National Bank of Boston, New England Mutual Life Insurance Company, and Kelly Peanut Company. His involvement with performing had been at the amateur level, and he found his way into a ballet school run by Senia Rusakoff (Roussakoff) because the institution required someone with bookkeeping knowledge and offered him free dancing lessons in return. Training in ballet and tap led to Bolger’s first stage appearance in 1922 as a soloist in Rusakoff’s dance recital, followed by a couple of years touring with the Bob Ott Musical Comedy Repertoire Company. This experience enabled Bolger to develop his craft in various musicals. He acquired skills in comedy and acting while continuing to broaden his range of dancing....

Article

Bolm, Adolph (25 September 1884–15 April 1951), dancer, teacher, and choreographer, was born Adol’f Rudol’fovich Bolm in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the son of Rudolf Bolm, a concertmaster and assistant conductor of the Mikhailovsky Imperial Theater Orchestra. His mother’s name is unknown. Among his four brothers, he was called “little bear” because of his ungainliness. Their home was filled with music and their father’s artist friends. By all accounts, these years formed Bolm’s love of all the arts as well as his inordinate vigor and sense of adventure....

Article

Borde, Percival (31 December 1922–31 August 1979), Afro-Caribbean dancer and choreographer, was born Percival Sebastian Borde in Port of Spain, Trinidad, the son of George Paul Borde, a veterinarian, and Augustine Francis Lambie. Borde grew up in Trinidad, where he finished secondary schooling at the Queens Royal College and took an appointment with the Trinidad Railway Company. Around 1942 he began formal research on Afro-Caribbean dance and performed with the Little Carib Dance Theatre. In 1949 he married Joyce Guppy, with whom he had one child. The year of their divorce is unknown....

Article

Bradley, Buddy (1908–1972), African-American choreographer and jazz tap dancer, was born Clarence Bradley, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His parents’ names and occupations are unknown. His father died when he was quite young and his religious mother brought him up strictly. After seeing the tap dancers Jack Wiggins and Clarence “Dancing” Dotson at a local theater, Bradley learned to do the time step on one foot by the time he was eight. He taught himself the Charleston, strut, drag, shuffle, and a vast assortment of African-American vernacular dances from the deep South....

Article

Bruhn, Erik (03 October 1928–01 April 1986), ballet dancer and ballet director, was born Erik Belton Evers Bruhn in Copenhagen, Denmark, the son of Ernst Bruhn and Ellen Evers. His mother owned and operated an exclusive hairdressing establishment, Evers Hairdressing Salon, at Kobmagergade 16; his father, originally an irrigation engineer, failed at a number of business ventures after suffering ill effects from malaria contracted while working in Russia before the Revolution, and for much of his adult life he was essentially without a profession. The couple separated when their son was five years old....

Image

John W. Bubbles As Sportin' Life in Porgy and Bess. Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1935. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114802).