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Big DealBob Fosse and Dance in the American Musical$
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Kevin Winkler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199336791

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199336791.001.0001

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Dancin’ Solo

Dancin’ Solo

(p.211) 9 Dancin’ Solo
Big Deal

Kevin Winkler

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Fosse’s show Dancin’, an evening of numbers performed to preexisting music from a variety of composers. Having dismissed all collaborators and untethered to a narrative, Fosse was free to create dances around his favorite music, which included classical, swing, rock, and pop. Dancin’ had moments of startling eroticism, and his ability to sculpt stage pictures with bodies, space, and light remained unmatched. But there were also cringeworthy attempts at comedy and moments of maudlin sentimentality. By now, Fosse’s choreographic style had shifted from traditional musical comedy with touches of antic vaudeville to a more lyrical, self-serious approach that he could not always support. A sameness crept into much of his work, with similar steps, patterns, and groupings carried over from one show or film to another. Choreographing for character seemed no longer important, and all his dancers appeared to be performing the role of Bob Fosse.

Keywords:   Ann Reinking, Fred Astaire, Jack Cole, musical comedy, vaudeville, Dancin’

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