Tag Archives: History of Dance

  • Dancing Across Generations

    Old-School-TVSome things never go out of style: table manners, denim, birthday parties, little black dresses…..and dance! You may have noticed that recently, television and movie producers have been uniting generations by remaking classic, popular dance movies. Today’s top stars have joined these casts and crews, making these revivals relevant and exciting to younger audiences, while still giving more mature viewers a healthy dose of nostalgia. Summer provides some extra downtime to revisit these dance-centric films that have withstood the test of time:

    • Grease is the word: In January, FOX coordinated “Grease: LIVE”, a live television broadcast of the classic movie-musical that featured stars including Julianne Hough, Vanessa Hudgens and Mario Lopez. The 1978 American musical romantic comedy film was reimagined, but the style stayed largely the same. The bright red lipstick and black leather outfits wow-ed audiences of all ages and the letterman jackets stayed exactly as we remembered them. If you weren’t able to catch the live broadcast, check it out on Netflix!
    • No one puts baby in the corner: ABC is working on a three-hour musical version of the 1987 hit “Dirty Dancing,” the much-loved story of how good girl Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman falls for – and learns some serious dance moves from! --Johnny Castle, the dance instructor at her family’s Catskills summer resort. The host station of “Dancing with the Stars” will recreate the movie’s iconic dance lift that made everyone trust their dance partner. The cast includes Debra Messing, Nicole Scherzinger and Abigail Breslin.
    • Whatever you feel, just dance it: Lifetime is creating a sequel to the beloved 2000s classic “Center Stage.” This time around, the American Ballet Academy is tasked with incorporating more contemporary styles into its ballet repertoire, and Peter Gallagher will return as the stern director everyone loves to hate. The sequel will include “Dance Moms” alum Chloe Lukasiak, who stars as a young ballerina vying for a spot in the company. These cast choices will make new and old viewers excited to watch just how modern the classic art of ballet can get.
    • Kick off your Sunday shoes: Catch “Footloose,” the 1984 American musical drama turned 2011 contemporary movie, proving any generation can appreciate a good rebel. Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald take on this small town with a big city attitude.

    With your downtime this summer, consider reconnecting with old and new timeless favorites that remind us dance is a universal language that stretches across generations. Who knows, you just might get inspired to whip out some classic dance moves or choreograph to a retro song!

  • Ballets About Love: The Stories Behind the Movement

    Ballets about Love - Curtain Call Costumes

    On the heels of Valentine’s Day, romance lingers in the air, giving us the perfect excuse to talk about love.

    While most of us hope that the love we find for ourselves will be simple and unconditional, ballets explore love in all its forms, from silly and fun to dramatic and trying. In short, ballets feature romantic stories that run the gamut from true, to displaced to forbidden loves.

    Some ballets retell love stories found in literary classics, such as Shakespeare’s comedic and whimsical A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or his dramatic and tragic Romeo and Juliet, a tale of star-crossed lovers from rivaling families. On the other hand, some enchanting love stories, including Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, were fairy tales and ballets well before they were given new life as Disney classics.

    Many ballets feature romantic relationships, but some are lesser known. Yet that doesn’t mean their stories are any less poignant or powerful. Read on for the stories behind two of our favorite ballets in honor of Saint Valentine:

    Coppélia is a comical ballet in which Dr. Coppélius creates a life-size dancing doll (which shares the story’s name) that sits on a neighborhood balcony. The doll is so lifelike that Franz, a village boy, becomes infatuated with the doll and sets aside his true heart's desire, Swanhilda, to pursue Coppélia.

    One day, Dr. Coppélius drops his keys, giving Swanhilda the opportunity to sneak around and ultimately learn that Coppélia is indeed a doll and not a person. Separately, Franz makes an attempt to get closer to Coppélia, whom he believes to be a beautiful girl. Shortly after, Dr. Coppélius returns to find Franz in his home. Enraged, the doctor gives Franz sleeping powder to ultimately sacrifice Franz’s soul to give Coppélia life.

    Swanhilda, who has been hiding in the doctor’s workshop behind the doll, escapes with Franz who realizes his one true love will always be Swanhilda.

    In the final act, Swanhilda and Franz are about to exchange their wedding vows when the angry Dr. Coppélius appears, claiming damages, but the mayor pays him off and the celebration continues.


    See Curtain Call costumes inspired by Coppélia:

    Peasant Dance
    Wonderful World
    Today's Song
    Singing in Spring

    Swan Lake
    Despite its initial unpopularity, Swan Lake, inspired by Russian folk tales, is now one of the most beloved ballets.

    Prince Siegfried, upset about not being able to marry for love, sets off in hunt of swans with a group of friends. After being separated from the group, Siegfried becomes entranced when one of the swans transforms into a beautiful girl, Odette.

    Odette and the other swans are victims of a terrible spell cast by the evil, owl-like sorcerer Von Rothbart. By day they are turned into swans and only at night, with the tears of Odette's mother dropped in the lake, do they return to human form. The spell can only be broken if one who has never loved before swears to love Odette forever.

    Seeing that Siegfried and Odette are falling in love, a concerned Von Rothbart arrives in disguise with his enchantress daughter, Odile, who is transformed so that she appears identical to Odette. Siegfried looks to marry her thinking she is Odette. Odette is distraught at Siegfried’s mistake, accusing him of betrayal.

    Heartbroken, Siegfried chooses to die alongside Odette by leaping into the lake before ascending into the heavens together.

    No matter what type of love these stories feature—tragic or lighthearted, complicated or straightforward—the common thread is that each is told beautifully by ballet dancers.

    What’s your favorite ballet about love? Tell us in the comments below!


    See Curtain Call costumes inspired by Swan Lake:

    Shimmering Lights
    Matte Satin Bodice

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