George T. Nierenberg made the documentary No Maps on My Taps, which captures the history of jazz and tap dancing. One of Nierenberg's subjects, Sandman Sims, tells Terry Gross about his career as a dancer.
Legendary ballerina Margot Fonteyn was a member of The Royal Ballet and danced professionally for an exceptionally long time. She has danced with partners such as Rudolf Nureyev. Fonteyn will host a series on public television "The Magic of Dance." Fonteyn joins the show to discuss her life, career, and contemporary ballet.
William Schimmel is the accordionist for the Tango Project, and disagrees with those who malign the instrument and the dance/music. Schimmel has written a tango mass for accordion, conducted and performed in the Joseph Papp production of the "Three-Penny Opera," and composed the musical "Kill." Schimmel lives in New York and commutes to Philadelphia where he is the dean of the New Power School of Music.
Inspired by cultural shifts in the postwar era, choreographer Alwin Nikolais seeks to break down gender differences in contemporary dance. In order to cultivate a purely aesthetic style, he downplays the sexual tension and eroticism often associated with ballet and other dance traditions.
Actor, director, and choreographer Maurice Hines comes from the famous tap-dancing family. He is the founder of the company Ballet Tap U. S. A. Hines appears in the film "Cotton Club." Hines joins the show to discuss working as a child with his father and brother, Gregory, touring Europe, learning ballet at the age of 30, the difference between "up-in-the-air," and "close-to-the-floor" tap dance, break-dancing, and the great dancers of film.
Merce Cunningham is an influential choreographer and dancer. He began studying tap as a child before moving on to modern dance, and he joined the Martha Graham Company in 1939. He eventually formed his own company in 1953, and his work has rejected certain dance conventions such as story, emotion, and choreographing to coincide to the music. Cunningham often works with composer John Cage as well as modern artists. Cunningham says he is interested in movement for its own sake.
Michael Bennett won a Pulitzer Prize for the musical "A Chorus Line," which he conceived, choreographed, and directed. He, himself, began his career as a Broadway dancer before choreographing musicals such as "Promises, Promises," "Company," and "Follies." Bennett's latest show is "Dreamgirls."
Unlike most professional dancers, Paul Taylor didn't pursue the craft until he was 22. After a celebrated career under the tutelage of Martha Graham, he became a choreographer. His new autobiography, Private Domain, details his experiences.
Film director Emile Ardolino. He's made of career of bringing dance to the screen in films like "He Made Me Feel Like Dancing." He's also directed PBS dance specials like "Baryshnikov at the White House." His newest work - the film "Dirty Dancing" - is also about dancing, but the style of dance is quite a departure.
Choreographer Lar Lubovitch. Lubovitch choreographed the new Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods." Along with choreographers like Laura Dean, Elliot Feld and Mark Morris, Lubovitch is helping re-shape dance in the post-Balanchine era.
Choreographer Alwin Nikolais. For over forty years he has been considered a revolutionary figure in modern dance. His choreographic vision included the use of visual arts and electronic music long before it became popular.