Friday, March 28, 2008

This Week in Dance History: March 30-April 5

March 30, 1923: The first dance marathon began at the Audobon Ballroom in New York City. It ended 27 hours later.

March 31, 1985: In an interview with the New York Times, Martha Graham expresses her feelings about dance: "The body says what words cannot."

April 1, 1931: Two dancers ended a marathon performance of 214 days, 12 hours, and 28
1/2 minutes at Chicago's Merry Garden Ballroom. Mike Ritof and Edith Boudreaux won $2,000 for their record dance, which had begun on August 29, 1930.

April 2, 1905: The anniversary of the birth of Serge Lifar. The Russian-born French dancer, choreographer, and ballet master of the Paris Opéra Ballet is credited with enhancing the position of male dancers in a company previously dominated by ballerinas.

April 3, 1904: Sally Rand, the American actress who created the "fan dance" was born.

April 4, 1895: Dance instructor Arthur Murray, the first to teach dance steps through the mail, was born. The dance steps were represented by foot print outlines that a prospective dancer could follow for home study. In 1938 he opened his first dance studio, the foundation of the chain that bears his name today.

April 5, 1987: Explaining his objectives as artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet, Gerald Arpino told the Christian Science Monitor, "We wanted to be dancer athletes and to prove that Americans could take the challenge, could become the Olypians of dance as well as the other great countries steeped in it for centuries." [The clip below is Gerald Arpino's Light Rain as featured in the movie "The Company".]