How Ballet Shaped the American Stage and Film Musical


Day course

Bridgett Vane

8 April 2021


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What do On the Town, Oklahoma!, Carousel, Guys and Dolls, The Music Man, West Side Story, Oliver! And so many more have in common? These were choreographed by classically-trained dancers. There is no doubt that America led the way in developing the musical; however in the early days banal dance numbers were often inserted just to give the singers a rest, with no thought to how to use the dancers creatively. This all changed when classically-trained choreographers created numbers which progressed the story and fleshed out the characters. Step up George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Eugene Loring, Michael Kidd, Jerome Robbins and Onna White.

We will look at the legacy of their work, set against their fascinating life stories, with excerpts from the films that look as fresh and exciting as when theu were first choreographed.

Tutor information

Bridgett Vane trained as a dancer and dance teacher. After running a dancing and theatrical retail business, she was press and marketing manager for Southampton’s Nuffield Theatre. A former dance adviser to Southern Arts Association, she was a founder of Southampton Dance Circle, and assisted in the running of the Southern Region of the Royal Academy of Dancing. Bridgett’s work is based on extensive up-to-the-minute research, combining her knowledge and engagement with ballet and dance with a passion for history.