Everybody Loves to Dance

I’ve been watching Ovation TV this past week, shows about the Phantom of the Opera (the play not Gerard Butler, alas!), West Side Story, Annie, and A Chorus Line. So I’ve been steeped in music, song and dance.

I’d love to write a Regency Historical about a dancer. The theater performances during the Regency had “ballet dancers” performing and I’d love to make one my heroine. Mostly Regency ballet dancers are mentioned as easy company for gentlemen, but I wonder if any of them had the love of movement and music that I associate with dancers today.

Consider this clip from West Side Story (my favorite sequence). Don’t you think the dancers loved performing this?

Love of dance transcends even ego. Watch mega star Mikail Barishnikov dance the finale of A Chorus Line.

Certainly Regency characters loved dancing and singing as part of their entertainment. This little clip recreates what I imagine might have been the after dinner entertainment at a country house party.

A part of me always wants to break out in a song or dance the way they do in the movies. Unfortunately, I don’t have the talent to pull it off, except in my imagination, but this clip shows it can be done! And romantically, too.

My very favorite is the Liverpool Train Station video. It always makes me smile.

On July 15, after the Literacy Signing, at the Marriot Wardman Park in Washington DC the Beau Monde will be hosting its annual Soiree. We’ll have a chance to dance the Regency dances there! And at the Harlequin party on July 17, I’ll get a chance to dance like they did in Liverpool.

What’s your favorite dance performance, movies or theater? If it is on YouTube, share the url!

P.S. This has nothing to do with dance or song or music, but it is Regency and it made me laugh. I couldn’t resist.

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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26 Responses to Everybody Loves to Dance

  1. Jane George says:

    Oh, sniff! I shall greatly miss seing all of you ladies in your finery at the Soiree. Have a fabulous time.

    My daughter is quite literally dancing her tuckus off. And she’s so excited it’s contagious. After her first partnering class last week she was uncontainable. Apparently the guys are a little older, strong, and she was able to do something called “pas de poisson” where the woman dancer is swept headfirst toward the floor. She can’t wait to do it again.

    She and I are going to see ABT’s Swan Lake on Friday. I’ve never been to the Metropolitan Opera House. Looking forward to it.

  2. Jane Austen says:

    I love the Tapioca dance scene was Thoroughly Modern Millie the movie. It’s not in the Broadway show. I love how in almost all the scenes in the movie everyone matches everyone else. I think it’s great. I watched it over and over again so I could learn the dance. And now I can do the tapioca. Very exciting.

  3. “She and I are going to see ABT’s Swan Lake on Friday.”

    Jane George, I am sooo jealous! I just read a review of Natalia Osipova in “Giselle” at ABT last week (my favorite ballet of all!) and was so sad not to be there. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/15/arts/dance/15abt.html

    (You can tell your daughter this review inspired me to attempt an arabesque penchee again, after almost a decade, and I nearly fell over! That should give her a laugh…)

  4. Diane, i’m so glad you posted the “Chorus Line” video! I wanted to see it ever since you told us about it last month. How wonderful. πŸ™‚

    I have a story idea I love about an Anna Pavlova-style Russian ballerina in the 1890s. Not sure where to find it a home, though.

  5. M. says:

    I have always loved Mikhail Baryshnikov. When they gave his character a negative spin on ‘Sex and the City’it changed my whole liking of the series.

  6. Diane Gaston says:

    Ah, Jane George, how wonderful it must be to see your daughter living her dream. I do think of the both of you there in NYC.

    It’s exciting just to be at the Metropolitan Opera House but to see ABT’s Swan Lake will be heaven.

    (Have you been to The Strand yet?)

  7. Diane Gaston says:

    Jane Austen, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Thoroughly Modern Millie. Must Netflix it!

    Amanda, isn’t the Barishnikov video great? What I love about it is how he lets himself blend in with the chorus so you really have to look to see it is him. I imagine that must have been a special treat for him to be just “one of the dancers.”

    M, I love Barishnikov, too. And I didn’t like his character in Sex in the City, either! I like the Barishnikov of the Chorus Line video much better.

  8. zara hemla says:

    I love the dancing in Bollywood movies. Over the weekend I watched “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” (a very romantic movie, btw!) and love the opening credits, where this pied-piper-like fellow is walking through the train station in London and wherever he walks, people start following him, and then they start dancing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmGS4I0XNj4

    The same song is used to great effect in the later part of the movie, where the hero and heroine and their respective dates face off in a dance contest:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqTkfbASBNI

  9. Jane George says:

    I haven’t been to the Strand yet! I’ve been haunting the library working on the ol’ WIP.

    I did read that “R’Patz” was mobbed last week coming out of the Strand. Daughter actually squealed to hear he’s in NYC.

  10. Diane Gaston says:

    Great clips, Zara! I love the Bollywood unapologetic exuberance! And I love its unique style.

  11. Diane Gaston says:

    Jane George (and Megan), Gerard Butler is also filming in NYC. And aren’t I irritated that I missed him!

  12. “I did read that “R’Patz” was mobbed last week coming out of the Strand. Daughter actually squealed to hear he’s in NYC.”

    OMG!!! We were just at the Strand last month. Waaah!

    Jane, you should take the bus down to DC next month for the Soiree… πŸ™‚

  13. Judy says:

    I fell in love with Mikail Barishnikov in “White Nights.” Thanks for posting the clip, Diane. It reminded me why he mesmerizes me. That opening scene shows it so clearly, how fluid he is, almost as if there are no joints, simply glowing movement. I watched him in a ballet on PBS, and he dances as though he’s barely attached to the earth, and as though ever step is effortless, even as you know it is not.

    Whenever I watch dancers, everything from Cats to Seven Brides For Seven Brothers to Singing in the Rain to White Christmas and even Step Up 2 the Streets, I am always in awe of what they are able to do with their bodies. The grace, the strength and the ability to remember all the steps! πŸ™‚

    And that last tidbit was quite humorous. πŸ™‚

  14. Diane Gaston says:

    Jane, you should take the bus down to DC next month for the Soiree… πŸ™‚

    Only $25 each way….some buses have free wireless internet.

  15. Diane Gaston says:

    Judy, I saw Barishnikov dance in the Nutcracker years ago. Sigh!!!!

    My sister and I used to have season tickets for the ballet at the Kennedy Center until it got too expensive. It occurred to me then that dancers must “think” differently than other people. They must experience the world in terms of rhythm and movement and music.

    I imagine Louisa knows something about that. In her singing days she must have seen the world a little differently, too. Nowadays I think in terms of story….

  16. I frequently break out into song and dance. Embarrasses the hell out of my son, hee.

    I’ll be the Soiree this year, too, but probably won’t dance. Then I get too embarrassed!

  17. Jane Austen says:

    When I lived in Wales my friends and I created Wales: The Musical and rewrote famous show tunes to fit our trip to Wales

    My favorite is Ruins Are a Girl’s Best Friend:

    Castles may be grand, but they’re no daub and waddle
    Ruins are a girl’s best friend.
    The buildings may be gone, but we’ve still got the model
    On this historic ground.
    I wonder what’s underneath that mound
    Days grow old and papers mold, but we’ll preserve the work in the end
    Cause dusty or rusty or even musty
    Ruins are a girl’s best friend.

    (Can you tell we’re preservationist librarians?)

    We also created: Swan Pond: A Bad Ballet Production

    We took the plot to Swan Lake, but added some hunters hunting the swans and had some real plonkers…the moves were really bad and heavy. The girl who lived beneath me came up to me room to find out what we were doing because we created such a ruckus.

    I would really like to see Wales: The Musical as well as Swan Pond performed. Perhaps I can get R-Patz and Mikhail Baryshnikov for each respectively. What do you think?

  18. Diane Gaston says:

    Jane Austen, I love “Ruins are a Girl’s Best Friend.” You have to go back to Wales and film that!!! you’ll be YouTube stars!

  19. Diane Gaston says:

    Jane Austen, since I once saw Barishnikov, I should be able to ask him if he’s willing to perform your Swan Lake. I’m sure he won’t mind!

  20. Jane Austen says:

    I just remembered one of my favorite dance scenes!

    Has anyone ever seen “The Slipper and The Rose”? It’s probably my favorite version of Cinderella. Richard Chamberlain is the prince.

    There’s a scene where the prince and his companion at arms are in the cemetery…the family crypt and they sing this song about how comforting it is to know that no matter how bad a king he is he will still be buried in the family plot. They dance on tombstones and it’s pretty funny.

    If you haven’t seen this movie, you really should. It’s a lot of fun and the musical numbers are wonderful. There’s more substance to this one. Cinderella doesn’t immediately get her happy ending, which I think is nice.

  21. Popping by between work and writing my head off! What a great post. I am so happy for your daughter Jane. She is such a lovely young lady. We do loved watching her dance at the Soiree last year.

    You will LOVE the Met. One of my favorite places ever to watch or to sing. Elegance and grace in every line and that’s just in the foyer!

    I had to take so many dance classes as part of my opera training, even a few years of ballet. Of course these days NASA would require less thrust to get the shuttle off the ground than it would take for me to execute a pirouette! But I did love it. One of my favorite classes was modern dance – so expressive and it really spoke to the musician in me.

    You are right, O Divine One. The world is a very different place when you are a musician. Everything has a rhythm, and tone, and pitch of its own. The things you see flow in patterns. Language especially for singers has a flow all its own, a music. There are times I know a passage I have written really works because it sings. Doesn’t happen often, but when it does it is amazing.

  22. Susan/DC says:

    My love for “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is inherited; I got it from my mother. The barn raising (and collapsing) scene still brings a thrill, and I’ve seen it countless times. When my oldest son was about 7 or 8 we went through a Broadway musical period. After watching 7Bfor7B he asked “that’s not how you’re supposed to get a wife, is it?” I told him that kidnapping is frowned on and that he’d have to figure out a different method — not to mention that in Washington, DC you can’t count on avalanches to keep the authorities away.

    Diane, it’s too bad you gave up your season tickets. We’ve got season tickets to the Washington Ballet in part because my niece is so intent on dance and for years danced in the Nutcracker until she gave up classical ballet for modern dance. I’m in awe of how strong the dancers are, yet they make it all look so easy.

    Thanks for all the lovely clips of dancers and dancing.

  23. Diane Gaston says:

    Susan/DC, when I was a kid my sisters and I went to see My Fair Lady at National Theater. Our grocery store gave away Show Tune records and I sang along to them all the time.
    I should have kept the season tickets! I loved the ballet. We saw so many wonderful performances.

    Louisa, I KNEW I was right about musicians and dancers perceiving the world differently!!!!!

    Megan, if you break out into a song and dance at RWA, I will, too. We can do a duet.

  24. Great clips, Diane. PBS did a great documentary on Jerome Robbins, the choreographer for West Side Story, who apparently terrified everyone including Bernstein.

    Jane, wonderful to hear about your daughter!

  25. Diane Gaston says:

    The Ovation documentary focussed a lot on Jerome Robbins’ contribution to the movie West Side Story. Very fascinating.

    I was in love with that movie as a teen. I saw it at least 6 times and had one of my “crushes” on Richard Beymer, who played Tony.

  26. I’ll be at the soiree this year! Can’t wait to see everyone. πŸ™‚

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