Female performers who aren't dancers?

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#1
Posted: 1/11/20 at 5:10pm

Who comes to mind? A friend and I got into a debate today about the triple threat requirements of many modern musicals, and how those requirements tend to be different along gender lines for principal performers - what actresses can you think of from the last 30 years would you say are firmly not dancers, but also firmly musical performers as opposed to known screen or straight play performers who happened to do one musical. 

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#2
Posted: 1/11/20 at 7:36pm

Of the last 30... Sutton Foster Karen Olivo Kelli O’Hara Audra McDonald Sure more will come to mind. Sutton and Karen may dance but I’d never put them in the league of some of the truly great dancing leads of years past.

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#3
Posted: 1/11/20 at 7:43pm
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Female performers who aren't dancers?#4
Posted: 1/11/20 at 7:56pm
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Female performers who aren't dancers?#5
Posted: 1/11/20 at 8:09pm

When Laura Benanti  did the show at RAdio City Music Hall part of the joke was she was a singer who "dances".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPNJCZEgBk0

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#6
Posted: 1/11/20 at 8:14pm
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Female performers who aren't dancers?#7
Posted: 1/11/20 at 8:22pm

Carolee Carmello is another if we're limiting it to the last 30 years or so. Excellent singer and talented actress, but she's the first to say she isn't a dancer.

I'd also put Jessie Mueller in this category too, probably? I don't recall a ton of choreo for Jenna or Carole King, and she definitely didn't have much in the most recent Carousel revival.

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#8
Posted: 1/11/20 at 9:32pm

fosseboi008 said: "... Sutton and Karen may dance but I’d never put them in the league of some of the truly great dancing leads of years past."

Having seen Sutton in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Drowsy Chaperone ["Show Off"] and do two of the best dance numbers I've ever seen in Anything Goes ["Anything Goes" and "Blow Gabriel Blow"], I would heartily disagree about her, in particular

.

 

Updated On: 1/11/20 at 09:32 PM
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Female performers who aren't dancers?#9
Posted: 1/11/20 at 9:41pm

I can't recall Bernadette Peters dancing, beyond the Who's That Woman number in Follies.  She was in George M, so she probably did.  

Clearly, Sutton Foster is a dancer with a capital D.  I think of her primarily from that perspective.

 
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Female performers who aren't dancers?#10
Posted: 1/11/20 at 9:46pm
I think a far more interesting question would be the other way around. Which female performers ARE dancers? Performers who were dancers before they were actors/singers. Leanne Cope and Melanie Moore immediately jump to mind.
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Female performers who aren't dancers?#11
Posted: 1/11/20 at 10:32pm

Call_me_jorge said: "I think a far more interesting question would be the other way around. Which female performers ARE dancers? Performers who were dancers before they were actors/singers. Leanne Cope and Melanie Moore immediately jump to mind."

Chita Rivera is the archetype for this, imo. (Predates the 30-year rule, but she has done shows with great choreo even within that timeframe.)

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#12
Posted: 1/11/20 at 10:33pm

Barbra can't dance.

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#13
Posted: 1/11/20 at 10:34pm

Sutton does well. She’s a remarkable performer. Bonafide dancer she is not. She has even admitted publicly about her the extent of her dance abilities. Chita, Gwen, Debbie Allen, C. D’Amboise, Ariana DeBose she is not. and I like her but come on. 

 

miamama2 said: "fosseboi008 said: "...Sutton and Karen may dance but I’d never put them in the league of some of the truly great dancing leads of years past."

Having seen Sutton in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Drowsy Chaperone ["Show Off"]anddo two of the best dance numbers I've ever seen in Anything Goes ["Anything Goes" and "Blow Gabriel Blow"], I would heartily disagree about her, in particular

.


"

 

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#14
Posted: 1/12/20 at 1:16am

fosseboi008 said: "Of the last 30... Sutton Foster Karen Olivo Kelli O’Hara Audra McDonald Sure more will come to mind. Sutton and Karen may dance but I’d never put them in the league of some of the truly great dancing leads of years past."

Sutton Foster’s work in Anything Goes was some of the most impressive choreography from the last decade. She’s a dancer.

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#15
Posted: 1/12/20 at 3:03am

Beth Leavel talks a lot in interviews about how she's not a dancer. Caitlin Kinnunen is another who doesn't really dance. 

The entire OBC of Come From Away always joked about how bad they all are at dancing and how long it took them to learn choreography (same with the older actors in Prom). 

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#16
Posted: 1/12/20 at 3:56am

Kerry Butler

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#17
Posted: 1/12/20 at 5:38am
I think a lot of the leads in Mean Girls who have passed through “can dance” but are in no way dancers. Taylor Louderman comes to mind. Caissie Levy?
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Female performers who aren't dancers?#18
Posted: 1/12/20 at 9:34am

Fro the sake of the argument, let's agree Sutton not "a dancer."

But if she isn't a dancer, who among her first tier contemporary peers is?

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#19
Posted: 1/12/20 at 6:14pm

Jarethan said: "I can't recall Bernadette Peters dancing, beyond the Who's That Woman number in Follies. She was in George M, so she probably did.

Clearly, Sutton Foster is a dancer with a capital D. I think of her primarily from that perspective.

 

"

Also Peters' role in DAMES AT SEA demanded some serious tap dancing.

Updated On: 1/12/20 at 06:14 PM
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Female performers who aren't dancers?#20
Posted: 1/12/20 at 8:51pm

Jarethan said: "I can't recall Bernadette Peters dancing, beyond the Who's That Woman number in Follies. She was in George M, so she probably did."

She moved beyond dance roles fairly early in her career, but she was a Hollywood Blonde/Dainty June understudy in the national tour of Gypsy in her youth, gained recognition for the original productions of George M and Dames at Sea, and continued to do quite a bit of dancing throughout the 70s and early 80s on variety shows and in movies (Annie and Pennies from Heaven come to mind).

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#21
Posted: 1/12/20 at 9:59pm

Patti Lupone, Kelli O’Hara, Donna Murphy? 

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#22
Posted: 1/12/20 at 10:51pm

Kristin Chenowith

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#23
Posted: 1/12/20 at 11:25pm

hey henrikegerman... thanks for opening the discussion. It’s just my opinion. I start again, love Sutton. But the idea of triple threat, especially involving dance over the years to me has been so cheapened. I know many dancers who feel this way in the broadway community.  Leads aren’t REALLY dancing like some of the truly demanding dance roles before. Many broadway actors who I say are triple threats aren’t “stars”. Most of the real triple threats are standing by and understudying. Sorry but a battement, chainé turns and a split in “Show Off” and a timestep and shuffle in “Anything Goes” and surviving the “long number”  doesn’t make you this excellent dancer. She ain’t auditioning for A Chorus Line or American in Paris. Sutton has just been among her contemporary peers the one who has repeatedly done more and better as a star because she does better in dance than her contemporary “star peers”. But I’ve never really seen her ever do anything truly technical or remotely difficult that every other chorus person behind her can’t do. People like Donna McKechnie, Chita, Debbie, Gwen, Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth, Wanda Richert, etc were dynamites that did things you could never think anyone could do. Those days seem gone. Things just change. 

Roles are no longer being written for true female lead dancers anymore. It’s sad to me. It’s just my opinion. 
 

One person I am excited to see as the future goes is Ariana DeBose who seems to have it all. And I’m loving seeing the path of Adrienne Warren. 
 

henrikegerman said: "Fro the sake of the argument, let's agree Sutton not "a dancer."

But if she isn't a dancer, who among her first tier contemporary peersis?
"

 

Updated On: 1/12/20 at 11:25 PM
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Female performers who aren't dancers?#24
Posted: 1/13/20 at 6:35pm

Jarethan said: "I can't recall Bernadette Peters dancing, beyond the Who's That Woman number in Follies. She was in George M, so she probably did.

Clearly, Sutton Foster is a dancer with a capital D. I think of her primarily from that perspective.


Bernadette was one of the few woman (there were only two others) who had taps on her shoes for that number which led me to believe she is actually a trained tapper.  

 

"

 

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Female performers who aren't dancers?#25
Posted: 1/13/20 at 7:00pm

fosseboi008 said: "hey henrikegerman... thanks for opening the discussion. It’s just my opinion. I start again, love Sutton. But the idea of triple threat, especially involving dance over the years to me has been so cheapened. I know many dancers who feel this way in the broadway community.Leads aren’t REALLY dancing like some of the truly demanding dance roles before.Many broadway actors who Isay are triple threats aren’t “stars”. Most of the real triple threats are standing by and understudying.Sorry but a battement, chainéturnsand a split in “Show Off” and a timestep and shuffle in “Anything Goes” and surviving the “long number”doesn’t make you this excellentdancer. She ain’t auditioning for A Chorus Line or American in Paris. Sutton has just beenamong her contemporary peersthe one who has repeatedly done more and better as a star because she does better in dance than her contemporary “star peers”.But I’ve never really seen her ever do anything truly technical or remotely difficult that every other chorus person behindher can’tdo. People like Donna McKechnie, Chita, Debbie, Gwen, Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth, Wanda Richert,etc were dynamites that did thingsyou could never think anyone could do. Those days seem gone. Things just change.

Roles are no longer being written for true female lead dancersanymore. It’s sad to me. It’s just myopinion.


One person I am excited to see as the future goes is Ariana DeBose who seems to have it all. And I’m loving seeingthe path of Adrienne Warren.


henrikegerman said: "Fro the sake of the argument, let's agree Sutton not "a dancer."

But if she isn't a dancer, who among her first tier contemporary peersis?
"


"

I get what you’re saying, but just because she’s not on Gwen Verdon’s level doesn’t mean that Sutton’s not an exceptional dancer.