i loooove m0dern dance, uber m0dern dance…a genre in which bob fosse clearly dominates. i took sharp notice when watching sweet charity on the telly in the house that sat next to a cornfield in the cultural desert i call the home of my childhood:
of ALL bob fosse (of which there a stellar collection), this scene has always been my favorite. did you see the young ben vereen working it?? a doco on fosse mentioned that dancers would practice hand gestures for the nightclub scene for days. no small wonder the chippie with the boneless arms [front and center] is soooo good at flowing liquidy curly smokey bendy springy kind of arms. perfection was always fosse’s goal; if he wanted to create a movement, a gesture, a mood, a story…he would stop at nothing to make it work perfectly, bless him.
many people only think of fosse as a choreographer, but like many great choreographers, he started out as an incredibly gifted dancer. he had aspirations of being the next fred astaire, but his career took him was in a very different direction: a distinctly in-your-face, no holds barred, physical, sexual, sexy and creatively mind blowing kind of direction. i saw dancin’ [a broadway production that showcased fosse’s genius] when i was 17. the sheer athleticism and aestheticism blew my mind. each dancer a star in their own right, together packing quite a powerful terpsichoric punch.
fosse was an alcoholic and swallowed pills to stay awake and pills to go to sleep. he lived fast and hard, and applied the same force to his artistic endeavors. before he died, he wrote and directed all that jazz, a semi autobiographical account of his life, starring a thinly veiled character joe gideon. the movie won the palme d’or at the cannes film festival and various academy awards and nominations. it’s an egotistical, self indulgent masterpiece and save the open heart surgery scene, i could watch over and over. dig this scene pitching a dance for an airline:
with all the hip swiveling, pelvic thrusting, arm wringing, leg splitting, scantily clad dancers that i love about fosse. did you catch a glimpse of tommy tune a the beginning of the video?
no wonder i can put the film version of chicago on a tape loop and be meserized for hours. mind, i still think casting “miss smelly face” as roxy was a mistake. but catherine zeta jones and queen latifah? genius.
*oh, and beyonce…please take you and all the single girls elsewhere. gwen verdon and bob fosse already did that stuff. perfectly.