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RIP - Michael Kidd


Jezebel38

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Broadway and Hollywood choreographer Michael Kidd passed away Sunday of cancer - he was 88 or 92 depending on reports. He was choreographer of the hit films "The Bandwagon", "Guys and Dolls" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". He also appeared in the film "It's Always Fair Weather" with Gene Kelly and Dan Dailey. Some of my favorite dance numbers - Girlhunt Ballet, Luck Be a Lady, Lonesome Polecat and the Barn Raising - well everything from Seven Brides.

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I am a great fan of Michael Kidd's "Barn Raising" number from "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". It thrills and excites me every time I see it! In my opinion, it's the best chorus number recorded on film!! Thank you Michael for this magnificent, magical number!!

 

I love Michael's great solo in the Garbage Can Top dance (from "It's always Fair Weather"). It was wonderful. (Even though it wasn't a ballet number, Michael ballet training was very apparent in this dance. Michael had danced in some great ballet companies.)

 

 

And "Guys and Dolls" is one of my favorite live threatre productions.

 

I love all the interesting stories that Michael told (in several documentaries) about the how his numbers came about; and about how these numbers came alive during the rehearsals.

 

And I admire Michael Kidd for forgiving Gene Kelly for Gene's Hostile behavior on the set of "It's Aways Fair Weather"--and for forgiving Gene Kelly for cutting from the film Michael Kidd"s long dance solo. (Stanley Donen said that his splended number should not have been cut.)

 

In later interviews, Michael had some complimentary things to say about Gene Kelly.

 

Michael, you did magnificent work. We are going to miss you!

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Michasl Kidd was also a great innovater. I read that dancers often got hurt preforming his difficul acrobatic numbers. They had to spend hours in rehearsals perfecting their technique.

Actress Teri Garr ((Tootsie) credits Michael as the person who led her to becoming an actress.

 

After years of ballet training and ballet perfornances, she auditioned for a broadway play choregraphed by Michael Kidd. During the audition she was so nervous that she made a slight mistake. Then she heard Michael's voice say," Who did that". When she admitted that she made the mistake--Michael asked her to leave. Teri was devastated and tramatized--and this led to her becomming a full time actress. So Michael, uninttenionaly is responsible for Teri's wonderful career!

 

(Because Hollywood and Broadway producers and choreographers were so perfectionistic in thier choices of performers and dancers--I'm always amazed (and usually grateful) that some not so perfect looking people slipped past their scrutinny.

 

(I remember Author John Mueller saying in his book on Fred Astaire that he thought Leslie Caron was to heavy to be a ballet dancer. (He was talking about her performance in "Daddy Long Legs".) I'm sure glad thatshe slipped past the executives at MGM. (She was the dancer Teri Garr and her friends idolized--she saw her in "An American in Paris".)

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i absolutely HATE that mueller book on astaire for exactly that reason... he makes snide remarks on just about all of fred's post-rogers partners and trashes most of fred's post-rogers films... 20 years worth of fred's work.

 

the book is well researched, but full of mueller's offbeat opinions... totally opposite from the general consensus reached by most critics/historians on fred's work. fred's weakest films and lesser partners are fred's best, according to mueller. fred's most celebrated partnerships, trashed.

 

it's 'alice thru the looking glass' reading that book, everything's topsy-turvey. and it's over 20 years old now.

 

it's high time a DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY was written on fred, but who knows if that will ever happen with that widow in the picture.

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