Monday, February 27, 2012

Why Isn't There An Oscar For Dance Direction?

As I sit down to watch the re-runs of the 84th Academy Awards that were conducted earlier in the day, I can’t help but wonder ‘Why isn’t there an Academy Award for the Best Choreography or Dance Direction?’ It was exactly this question that got me to sit down at my laptop and do some research on whether or not they ever had such an award in the past. 

Here are some of the findings revealed by this search that spanned over innumerable web pages. (Note: Some of them may seem unrelated to the others; but they’re all relevant to the question that got me researching.) 

Blast From The Past
A Still From 'Broadway Melody of 1936'
Believe it or not, there was a Best Dance Direction Category at the Oscars for 3 years way back in the 1930s.
1935: Dave Gould took home the prestigious award for his ‘I’ve Got A Feeling You’re Fooling’ number that was part of the Broadway Melody of 1936 and for his ‘Straw Hat’ from Folies Bergere
1936: Semour Felix grabbed the Golden Lady for ‘A Pretty Girl Is like a Melody’ from The Great Ziegfeld.
1937: Hermes Pan bagged the last ever award in the category for ‘Fun House’ from A Damsel in Distress.

Honorary Awards
We’ve all heard of the Lifetime Achievement Awards given out every year at the Academy Awards; but did you know that there are other such honorary awards that could be given out at the discretion of the Board of Governors. These awards are generally given out for ‘exceptional contributions to motion picture arts and sciences; and outstanding service to the academy’.

Michael Kidd With His Oscar In 1997
Choreographer Michael Kidd was one such recipient of the Honorary Award in 1997. He was presented the award by the pretty and graceful Julie Andrews. Here’s what his speech sounded like –

Thank you, Jools. Jools, you're a treasure for being here. Thank you.

I didn't know how to handle all this, but my wife Shelah, who was my assistant on many of these pictures and naturally bore the brunt of my grouchiness, said to me: Michael, the Academy is honoring you. For once stop being Mr. Bah Humbug and try to enjoy it, at least for your family and friends' sake. Well, she's not only beautiful, she's right. So, Shelah, and Matthew, Amy, Kris, and Susan -- and even Julie [Andrews] who calls me an old curmudgeon -- and the many friends who wrote or phoned with the same message, once the reality of all this sinks in I promise to enjoy it. I've even had my glasses tinted slightly rose-colored.

So many of today's films stress the terrors that await us. Perhaps this award signifies an awareness that we have been missing something, namely the vitality and the joy of living that movie musicals can express in song and dance. I thank the Academy for this tribute. I accept it in the name of all choreographers and especially the dancers who made it all possible. We feel honored. Thank you.

The Tony Awards To The Rescue
The Tony Award Trophy
While we may not have an Oscar to honor the dancers of the industry; the Tony Awards come to the rescue. The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre (commonly called the Tony Award) is the equivalent of the Oscar or the Academy Awards. The annual ceremony held at New York City is presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League.

Since the Tony Awards are generally held in June, you’ll just have to wait until then to see who wins the accolades for their dancing skills.

Until then, kick back your dancing shoes; prop your legs up on the couch; and enjoy the 84thAcademy Awards (just as I will).

Pssst… Tom Hank’s on screen now. I love the man. So, I must go. Keep Dancing!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Will Young - Losing Myself

There are those days when you come across something exciting over the internet; and you know that it deserves to be shared with the world. Here's an interesting video I came across today, on a blog that I have been following lately.

It is rare to see such a video where the dancers are not only chosen for the way they dance, but also because they fit the bill. With similar facial and physical features; the dancers seem to have a done a great job of helping Will Young 'Lose Himself'. Every single time that I watch the video, it makes me think of how much effort must have gone into getting it right! 

If  you take the effort to watch most of Will Young's works, you will notice that the guy isn't too open about his dancing skills; but you have to give it to him - he's done a pretty neat job with the video.

Plus, listening to this particular song over and over again, I feel like the song's growing on me. I hope to utilize the song for a choreography some day. What do you think?

DID YOU KNOW - How The Cha Cha Evolved?

If I had to choose one dance style that I am absolutely in love with, there is but little doubt that my vote would go to the dynamic and vivacious ‘Cha Cha’. Originally known as the ‘Cha Cha Cha’, the dance style is in reality an offshoot of the Mambo. 

The Cover Of An Age Old Cha Cha Record
Early proponents of the Mambo noticed the existence of a distinct sound in the music; which they then began referring to as the “Triple Mambo”. Over time, the Triple Mambo evolved and gained a character of its own. In its refined form, the Triple Mambo is known as the Cha Cha Cha. 

Here’s one of my favorite Cha Cha videos from So You Think You Can Dance.(Let’s be honest, I just love it because Pasha’s in it).

Friday, February 24, 2012

Step Up 4Ever Coming In 2012

Well, I can’t speak for every other dancer when I say this; but I sure can speak for myself. Of the successful and popular ‘Step Up’ movie franchise, StepUp 2 : The Streets was my favorite. From the choreographed dance routine that they pull off in the train, to the finale in the rain (Yay, that rhymed!); every single sequence in the movie was well executed. I was utterly disappointed with Step Up (2006) and the subsequent Step Up 3D (2010); which were not as impressive. 

Come 2012, the Step Up Franchise is all set to keep growing. With a teaser out early last week, Step Up 4Ever is all set to be the dance movie of the year. While the short teaser provides insight into the cast chosen this time around, it also throws light on an important fact – this time around the story is set in MIAMI (unlike the Baltimore and New York settings in the past). 

Here’s a quick sneak peek at what the teaser looks like – 


As per the IMDB page of the movie, Step Up 4 should hit theaters in July this year. This is definitely one movie I am going to keep my eyes out for. 

Are there any such dance movies you'll be looking forward to to this year? Do let us know. May be we could do a little research for you and keep you posted.

Before we leave, here's a snapshot on the leading pairs of the Step Up franchise, with the addition of Step Up 4Ever.

The Lead Pairs Of The Step Up Franchise
Happy Dancing!

Never Miss A Chance To Dance (Images)

Dancing has been a part of who I have been for a while now. My first performance on-stage was when I was all of 7.From then to now, it's been quite a journey. 

Over the years, my love for Latin Ballroom Dancing has grown fourfold, thanks to Bosco (love ya!). 

Here's a quick sneak-peek at some of my favorite images from around the world. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tip Tap Toe - Where The Arts Come Alive

Welcome one and all, to the world of dance, music, theater and more. Tip Tap Toe will be your gateway to a place ‘Where The Arts Come Alive’. Over a journey that has spanned about 18 odd years, my constant flirtation with art forms (especially the dances) has culminated in the formation of Tip Tap Toe. 

I hope that each and every one of you who joins me in the journey of Tip Tap Toe have something to contribute and something to take back.