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BWW Flashback: Ann Reinking Recounts Memories of Her Career as One of Broadway's Most Legendary Dancers

Reinking chatted with Richard Ridge in July 2020 interview.

As BroadwayWorld sadly reported yesterday, Broadway legend Ann Reinking has passed away, via the star's sister-in-law Dahrla Reinking. She was 71 years old.

Ann Reinking received the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Chicago. More recently, she served as Choreographer for The Visit on Broadway (2011) and Dance Consultant for An Evening With Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin (2004).

Some of her many theatre credits included: Roxie Hart-Chicago, Encores! NY City Center; Bye-Bye Birdie -nat'l tour opposite Tommy Tune; Bob Fosse's Dancin' (Tony nom.); Sweet Charity (revival); Roxie Hart in Bob Fosse's Chicago; Pippin, Coco, Maggie in Over Here! (Theatre World, Clarence Derwent and Outer Critics Circle Awards), Goodtime Charley (Tony nom.); The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She received the Tony Award, Drama Desk, Outer Critics and Astaire Awards for her choreography of Chicago.

Earlier this year, Ann was interviewed by BroadwayWorld's Richard Ridge from her home in Arizona. During the hour of storytelling, she opened up about how she fell in love with dance as a young girl.

"In sixth grade my teacher said that we had to do a talent show. You could sing or recite a poem... I went a wrote a little sketch for myself called "Our Big World" about how many ways you could use a scarf. It went alright, but was really spectacular was that [someone in my class] did the Sugar Plum variation from The Nutcracker," she explained. "I had never seen really good dancing like that and I absolutely fell in love."

She admitted that she caught some of FX's hit series Fosse/Verdon, but could not watch all of it as the material was too close to home. "I didn't want to indulge in it because I have my memory of Bob and Gwen, which is stellar. They were so much fun, they were good people, but they were also good at what they did. I couldn't wait to get to work [with them]," she said. "To meet someone who you look up to like they are gods and goddesses, sometimes that person can disappoint you a bit. But they never disappointed me. They were everything that I thought they were when I was watching their work as a student... with them you got so much more."

Reinking believed that the art of dance should be passed on from dancer to dancer. "Every great dancer has so much to offer," she explained. "In theatre or in ballet, the ballerina always passes on what they know. It's a hands-on craft. You can't really learn the soul and the pathos of it if you just see a video. It has to be taught by someone who is in the know. I think it's more inherent in dancers rather than in acting or singing, but it's such a physical art form that you really need to see the body and hear the thinking."

Below, watch as Ann recounted stories of her career on stage and screen, working with Bob Fosse, teaching young dancers across the country, and so much more.

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