GOTTA DANCE! A Dance Tribute to Hollywood

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Last night, October 27, Career Transition For Dancers (CTFD) presented its 9th Annual Gala – GOTTA DANCE! A Dance Tribute to Hollywoodat CityCenter. BroadwayWorld attended the gala as well as the dress rehearsal earlier in the day. The nostalgic evening honored and paid tribute to that wonderful era when some of the most superb in dance and choreography was immortalized on film. Such classics as "Singin' In The Rain," "Red Shoes," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "West Side Story," "Sweet Charity," "The Turning Point," and "Saturday Night Fever" were and continue to be an inspiration and joy to lovers of dance.

Among the evening's highlights were THE BLACK SWAN, Swan Lake Act 111 Pas de Deux (The Music Lovers, 1970) performed by the Royal Ballet's Alina Cojocaru & Johan Kobborg, introduced by Lynn Redgrave; The Balcony Scene from Act 1 ROMEO AND JULIET (The Turning Point, 1977) performed by Ashley Tuttle and Angel Corella of the American Ballet Theatre, introduced by Leslie Browne; BIG SPENDER (Sweet Charity, 1969) featuring Bebe Neuwirth & Ann Reinking; THE MERRY WIDOW WALTZ (The Merry Widow, 1934) danced by Marge Champion and Donald Saddler and the finale HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD (Hollywood Hotel, 1937) led by Marni Nixon, Kate Levering and Randy Skinner (Director GOTTA DANCE!, A Dance Tribute to Hollywood).

George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn introduced the New York City Ballet's performance of AMERICA (West Side Story, 1961). Russ divulged that at the age of 17, while filming Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, he developed a huge crush on its star Jane Powell who introduced the APPALACHIAN CLOG DANCE (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, 1954) performed by the National Dance Institute Celebration Team. The beautiful and gracious Miss Powell sat two seats away from me in Row P enjoying the evening so much that she almost missed her curtain call.

The Williams Brothers delighted the audience with THE COTTON CLUB (The Cotton Club, 1984) as a Tribute to the Nicholas Brothers. They also dedicated their performance to the memory of Gregory Hines. Maurice Hines then presented the CTFD Award to Fayard Nicholas who received one of the biggest laughs of the evening saying that he was 89 years young and his definition of old was "when your back goes out more than you do!" He then proved it in a duet of CHATTANOGA CHO-CHOO (Sun Valley Serenade, 1941) with his wife, Katherine Hopkins-Nicholas.

Esther Williams was escorted on stage by two virile young men in swimsuits, a moment she obviously delighted in, to present a CTFD Outstanding Contribution Award to Turner Entertainment's President & COO Roger L. Mayer in recognition of the company's dedication to the preservation of dance on film. 

The evening's program also included GOTTA DANCE! (Singin In The Rain, 1952) by the National Dance Institute Celebration Team; THE RED SHOES (The Red Shoes, 1948) Lar Lubovitch Dance Company introduced by Mary Tyler Moore; THE LADY IN THE TUTTI-FRUTTI HAT: A Tribute to Carmen Miranda, Les Ballets Grandiva introduced by Rosie Perez, and SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (Saturday Night Fever, 1977) introduction by Karen Lynn Gorney.

The mission of Career Transition For Dancers is to empower current and former professional dancers with the knowledge and skills necessary to clearly define their career possibilities after dance, and to provide resources necessary to help make these possibilities a reality.

The benefit evening was dedicated to the memory of Caroline H. Newhouse, CTFD board member. 

 

Sandra Brown and Keith Roberts during THE RED SHOES rehearsal.

 

GOTTA DANCE! A Dance Tribute to Hollywood

Sandra Brown and Craig Salstein at the THE RED SHOES rehearsal.

 

Brothers Floyd C. Williams, Jr. and Faruma Williams in their tribute dance to The Nicholas Brothers.

 

Marge Champion and Donald Saddler in a moment from THE MERRY WIDOW WALTZ

 

GOTTA DANCE! A Dance Tribute to Hollywood director Randy Skinner with Kate Levering rehearsing HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD

 

Taking their bows from left to right: George Chakiris, Robert L. Mayer, Jane Powell, Robert Osborne, Esther Williams, Katherine Hopkins-Nicholas, Fayard Nicholas, Russ Tamblyn, Cyd Charisse, Marge Champion.

 

At curtain call from left to right: Arlene Dahl, Lynn Redgrave, Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth, Rosie Perez, Karen Lynn Gorney, Leslie Browne.

 

Photos Copyright 2003: Lilian Barbuti / BroadwayWorld.com. Photos may not be used on other web sites without express written consent.


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Lilian Barbuti An expat from London, England, Lilian has made New York her home for over 30 years. She has a career background in the music industry, having worked in the promotion and creative departments of major recording companies on both sides of the pond.