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Photograph of the inaugural speech of President John F. Kennedy

KC Festival: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
The Kennedy Center marks the 50th anniversary of a remarkable American presidency
Presidents, America, Dance, Music, Theater, Poetry

maximum INDIA

KC Festival: maximum INDIA
The Kennedy Center celebrates the arts and artists of India
Dance, Music, Asia, World Cultures, India

Mariinsky Ballet: The Little Humpbacked Horse

2700 F St.: Mariinsky Ballet: The Little Humpbacked Horse
Once upon a time, there was a beloved Russian fairy tale that was told to countless generations about a young boy’s amazing adventures with a magical horse. Now, Alexei Ratmansky and the Mariinsky Ballet re-imagine this classic story in 21st-century style.
Dance, Ballet

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

2700 F St.: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
You may have heard of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AADT). No surprise--they’ve been on the main dance stage since 1958. Based in New York City, the company has toured all over the world, but who exactly was Alvin Ailey?
Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers

Cinderella

2700 F St.: Cinderella: San Francisco Ballet Working Rehearsal
Okay, you know the story…it’s the well-loved fairy tale about an unlikely princess. Sounds familiar, right?
Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Folklore, Europe

Cincinnati Ballet Nutcracker

2700 F St.: The Nutcracker: Cincinnati Ballet
The Nutcracker, one of the most popular ballets of all time, is about the magic and mystery of the holiday season.
Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Folklore

Freeze Frame

2700 F St.: Freeze Frame... Stop The Madness: Debbie Allen Dance Academy
A performance based on true stories and told in a fusion of drama, music, dance, video, and art.
America, Choreographers, Controversial, Dance, Dance Legends, Young Artists, JFKC

STREB

2700 F St.: SEA (Singular Extreme Actions)
Flips, twists, falls, and dives! Get ready to gasp, because this is no ordinary dance performance. It’s EXTREME ACTION, as the title states, with a big dose of dance, athletics, rodeo riding, boxing, circus, and stunt work.
Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers

Mariinsky Ballet: Raymonda

Cuesheet: Mariinsky Ballet: Raymonda
Raymonda is set in medieval Hungary and follows a countess torn between her betrothed, a crusading knight, and the arrival of a handsome warrior.
Dance, Comedy, Choreographers, Music, Composers

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Cuesheet: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Mini Performance
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares "Ailey Magic" with students, giving insights into the history of the company and its founder Alvin Ailey. The company performs their signature work, Revelations.
Backstage, Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends

Mariko's Magical Mix: A Dance Adventure

Cuesheet: Mariko’s Magical Mix: A Dance Adventure
In this new dance work from Chicago’s acclaimed Hubbard Street 2 in collaboration with the shadow puppeteers of Manuel Cinema, a restless girl finds inspiration from her mom’s old records to move to her own beat.
Theater, Dance

The Joffrey Ballet: The Nutcracker

Cuesheet: The Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker
The Joffrey Ballet brings the magic of the holiday season to life with heroic toy soldiers, sword-fighting mice, and a glittering journey to the Kingdom of Sweets.
Dance, Comedy, Choreographers, Music, Composers

Jason + Ronald K. Brown & Evidence

Cuesheet: Ronald K. Brown/Evidence with Jason Moran and The Bandwagon: Working Rehearsal
Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran and celebrated choreographer Ronald K. Brown bring together their respective ensembles—Brown’s Evidence, A Dance Company and Moran’s Bandwangon jazz trio—for a performance of dance and live music.
Musical Instruments, Music, Jazz, Dance

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Cuesheet: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Mini Performance
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares "Ailey Magic" with students, giving insights into the history of the company and its founder Alvin Ailey. The company performs their signature work, Revelations.
Backstage, Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends

Scottish Ballet: A Streetcar Named Desire

Cuesheet: Scottish Ballet Working Rehearsal: A Streetcar Named Desire
Scottish Ballet celebrates the 65th anniversary of Tennessee William’s literary masterpiece with this original adaptation, a vibrant fusion of drama and dance set to a jazz-inspired score.
Dance, Choreographers, Ballet, Theater

Rhythmic Circus in Feet Don't Fail Me Now!

Cuesheet: Rhythmic Circus: Feet Don't Fail Me Now!
Tap into the funk with four homegrown hoofers from Minneapolis, complete with a trunk full of tap shoes, funky costumes, and a big brass band. Join them for a joyous parade of genre-hopping music and hard-hitting percussive dance.
Dance, Physical Activity, Music

Arch8 Dance Company: TETRIS Plus

Cuesheet: Arch8 from the Netherlands: TETRISplus
Balance. Communication. Cooperation. This is what dance is all about, and no one shows it off quite like the Arch8 company from the Netherlands.
Dance, Geometry, Europe, Physical Activity

Mariinsky Ballet: Working Rehearsal

Cuesheet: Mariinsky Ballet Working Rehearsal
Russia’s historic Mariinsky Ballet returns to the Kennedy Center with a dynamic program of Russian choreographers featuring Millicent Hodson’s Le Sacre du printemps, Michel Fokine’s Le Spectre de la Rose, Fokine’s The Swan, and Marius Petipa’s Paquita Grand Pas.
Dance, Choreographers, Ballet

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Mini Performance

Cuesheet: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Mini Performance (2015)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares "Ailey Magic" with students, giving insights into the history of the company and its founder Alvin Ailey. The company performs their signature work, Revelations.
Backstage, Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends

Ballet West: The Nutcracker Working Rehearsal

Cuesheet: Ballet's West's The Nutcracker
Ballet West brings the magic of the holiday season to life with heroic toy soldiers, sword-fighting mice, and a glittering journey to the Kingdom of Sweets.
Dance, Comedy, Choreographers, Music, Composers

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Cuesheet: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Performance & Demonstration (2014)
The company performs their signature work, Revelations. The program also includes Bill T. Jones’ D-Man in the Waters (Part I). Set to Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20 (1825), it is a celebration of life and the resilience of the human spirit that embodies loss, hope, and triumph.
Backstage, Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends

Compagnie Käfig Working Rehearsal

Cuesheet: Compagnie Käfig Working Rehearsal
See how the all-male Brazilian cast of French dance company, Compagnie Käfig, blends a variety of movement styles, including hip-hop, martial arts, and contemporary dance.
Backstage, Dance, Latin America, World Cultures

Mariinsky Ballet's Swan Lake

Cuesheet: Mariinsky Ballet: Swan Lake
Russia’s historic Mariinsky Ballet—one of the most influential classical companies for more than two and a half centuries—returns to the Kennedy Center with the romantic masterpiece Swan Lake, in which the forces of evil are no match for true love.
Dance, Comedy, Choreographers, Music, Composers

GOLD

Cuesheet: Cas Public of Canada: GOLD
Canada’s Cas Public dance ensemble uses everyday sounds and objects to explore the joy, humor, and mischief of childhood—performed to Canadian pianist Glenn Gould’s famous recording of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
Dance, Comedy, Choreographers, Music, Composers

The Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker

Cuesheet: The Joffrey Ballet: The Nutcracker Working Rehearsal
The Joffrey Ballet brings the magic of the holiday season to life with heroic toy soldiers, sword-fighting mice, and a glittering journey to the Kingdom of Sweets.
Ballet, Choreographers, Composers, Dance, Dance Legends, Backstage, Europe

Ballet Hispanico

Cuesheet: Ballet Hispanico: Performance & Demonstration
Explore Latin American dance and music with Ballet Hispanico, a New York-based dance company dedicated to preserving and celebrating Latino cultures through dance
Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Latin America

Ragamala

Article: Ragamala Dance
Learn about traditional Indian Bharatanatyam dance from the Ragamala Dance company
India, Dance, Music, World Cultures

Alvin Ailey's Night Creature

KC Connection: Alvin Ailey's Night Creature
The stars shine in Ailey’s homage to Duke Ellington
Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Jazz, Composers, Music Legends

Another Night

KC Connection: Another Night by Kyle Abraham
Choreographer Kyle Abraham compares his choreography to gumbo, a Southern soup. Like a stew that includes many separate ingredients, his dances are a mixture of modern, ballet, social dance, and hip-hop.
Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Jazz

Loie Fuller

Article: The Rebellious Streak: Dancing to Different Rules
They were rebels, they were American, and they dared to be different: the makers of modern dance
Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Innovators & Pioneers, Controversial

Little Dancer

Article: On Stage: Little Dancer
This feature includes background about the musical Little Dancer as well as an interpretive piece for younger audience members about the play’s more sensitive themes
Theater, Ballet, Backstage, Controversial, Dance, Europe, Young Artists

Romeo and Juliet

Article: The Pas De Deux: It Takes Two
The pas de deux is not just a dance of love
Dance Legends, Ballet, Dance, Music

Article: Music as Dance’s Muse
Music is a muse for four different American choreographers
Choreographers, Music, Dance, Ballet

Cracking Open The Nutcracker

Article: Cracking Open The Nutcracker
Explore the most popular ballet of all time
Ballet, Dance, Choreographers, Composers, Folklore

Dancers

Article: Do You Wanna Dance?
Want to understand how dance works? Learn the five elements that make up the foundation of this art form: body, action, time, space, and energy
Dance, Ballet, Choreographers, Hip-Hop, Popular Culture, Young Artists

Contemporary Dancers

Field Guide: Dance Do's and Don'ts
Everything you need to know before you go to a dance performance
Dance

pointe shoe

Gear: Pointe Shoes
What makes dancing en pointe possible? Footwear called pointe shoes. With their flat, stiff fronts and special construction, pointe shoes give ballerinas the footwear that helps them stay on their toes and wow audiences
Young Artists, Science, Physical Activity, Jobs in the Arts, Dance, Ballet

Martha Graham

Series: Master + Work
Meet the masters...the talented artists who have created some of the most outstanding achievements of the twentieth century
Ballet, Choreographers, Composers, Dance Legends, Music Legends

Hip-Hop artists

Series: Hip-Hop: A Culture of Vision and Voice
Hip-hop is global, lapping on every shore and landing at every airport. But what does Hip-Hop mean?
Hip-Hop, Young Artists, Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers, Innovators & Pioneers, Musical Instruments, Music, Poetry, Visual Arts

Martha Graham

Master + Work: Martha Graham and Appalachian Spring
Learn how this dance visionary pioneered her own movement language while exploring the depths of human emotion
America, Dance, Dance Legends

Agnes De Mille

Master + Work: Agnes de Mille and Rodeo
This all-American master changed the stage of choreography in musical theater. Learn how
America, Innovators & Pioneers, Ballet, Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers, Folklore, History

Alvin Ailey's Revelations

Master + Work: Alvin Ailey and Revelations
Find out how Ailey explored themes of African American heritage and culture through dance
Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends

George Balanchine

Master + Work: George Balanchine and Agon
Discover why Balanchine has been called "the father of American Ballet" and even the greatest choreographer of all time
Ballet, Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers

Merce Cunningham

Master + Work: Merce Cunningham and BIPED
Discover how Cunningham's abstract choreography was inspired by his innovative use of technology
Choreographers, Controversial, Dance, Dance Legends, Innovators & Pioneers, Science

Heart-shaped Chocolates

Collection: Love
These resources offer ways to look at the concept of love beyond the lovey-dovey. Whether as sweeping ballet choreography or tragic Shakespearean poetry, you'll explore how love can be expressed in different artistic contexts.
Dance, Education, Poetry, History, Shakespeare, Theater, Tragedy

Peruvian woman

Collection: Latin America
Travel through the diverse cultures of Latin America, as represented by artists from Ecuador, Cuba, Bolivia, El Salvador, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas and California. Enjoy art rich in both tradition and innovation.
Folklore, Geography, Latin America, Music, Dance, World Cultures, Young Artists

Kennedy Center

Collection: A Few of Our Favorite Things...
From musical theater to music in space, our media collections reflect the breadth and depth of the performing arts in America and around the world. These are some of our staff favorites--we'd love to hear yours!
Backstage, Dance, Education, Jazz, Music, Theater, Visual Arts, World Cultures

Native American flute player

Collection: Native American Cultures
Experience traditional Native American culture through dance, music and visual arts. Watch Native Pride the eagle and hoop dances, trace the life of a Navajo weaver, learn how Keith Bear makes a flute, make a listening doll, and meet fancy dancers Larry and Jessup Yazzie.
America, Geography, Folklore, Dance, Musical Instruments, Music, World Cultures

India

Collection: India
Explore India and its multiple cultures and the art they produce. Listen to experienced musicians perform tabla beats, learn about the Bharatanatyam dance, and catch a movie produced by Bollywood, one of the largest centers of film production in the world.
Asia, Dance, Music, World Cultures

Hip-Hop

Collection: Hip-Hop Culture
Hip-Hop has blended and transcended its artistic elements to become a means for seeing, celebrating, experiencing, understanding, confronting, and commenting on life and the world. Hip-Hop, in other words, is a way of living—a culture.
Hip-Hop, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Fashion, Innovators & Pioneers, Language, Music, Poetry, Popular Culture, Theater, Young Artists

Martha Graham

Collection: Women in the Arts
From providing historical inspiration to preserving cultural traditions to pushing the boundaries of creativity, explore the contributions women have made and continue to make to the arts.
Dance, Dance Legends, Music Legends, Musicals, Literature, Poetry, Theater

Russia

Collection: Russia
Sputnik and space travel, a soviet-born ballet dancer and choreographer of incredible talent, and a dance called the troika – learn about all this and more in this journey through Russia’s art and history
Asia, Ballet, Europe, Dance, Choreographers

Pointe Shoes

Collection: Ballet Resources
What does ballet have to do with the Russian Revolution? What's a plié or a jete or cinquième? How do ballerinas condition their bodies to perform like athletes? Delve into an art form with a language all its own and a rich history interwoven with cultural revolution, political rebellion, and artistic innovation.
Ballet, Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers

Dancing feet

Collection: Dance Resources
What’s the difference between troika and hula? How can dance tell stories and preserve histories? Discover dance and its impact on culture by exploring Ancient Egyptian rituals and Native American legends. Learn how dance tells stories and poems through a language of movement and music, and pick up a few moves yourself.
Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Hip-Hop, Jazz, World Cultures

Red Poppy

Collection: Asia
Fish painting, lion dances, larger-than-life calligraphy and a tornado of fire... experience the vibrant diversity of the arts across Asia.
Asia, China, India, Japan, Dance, Folklore, Music, Theater, Visual Arts, World Cultures

Javanese dancer

Collection: Asian-Pacific Islander
Artists from Indonesia set out on a cultural exchange with the Chicago theater scene. Watch a demonstration of Javanese dance, and learn all about the monkey dance from Bali
Asia, World Cultures, Folklore, Dance

Chinese lion dancer

Collection: China
An army of buried warriors, lion dances, dancing shadows and a tornado of fire... experience the vibrant diversity of the arts across China
Asia, China, Dance, Music, Visual Arts, World Cultures

African-American Boy

Collection: African-American History
Learn about the African American experience through the arts — and discover the contributions of African Americans to the history and culture of the United States.
Africa, America, Folklore, Geography, History, Jazz, Music, Playwrights & Plays, Dance, Blues

African men

Collection: Africa
Discover the real story of the Lion King and the rich tapestry of sounds from North African cultures.
Africa, Animals, Dance, Folklore, Music, Puppets, World Cultures

Stage Fright

Article: Scare Away Stage Fright
Help your child let go of performance fears
Backstage, Ballet, Broadway, Dance, Family, Musicals, Opera, Orchestra, Young Artists

Young Dancers

Article: Child's Play or Real Ambition?
How to connect your child with the performing arts
Young Artists, Family, Ballet, Dance, Musical Instruments, Music, Opera, Theater

Young Girls Doing Ballet On Stage

Article: Good Moves for Young Dancers
Expert tips for preventing—and treating—injuries in young dancers
Dance, Family, Physical Activity, Young Artists, Ballet

Mom and Daughter Doing Crafts

Article: Giving Feedback: Food for Thought for Parents
How can parents talk with and engage with their kids about their creative work? Here are seven suggestions to get you started
Family, Young Artists, Theater, Music, Dance, Ballet, Poetry

Kids Dancing

Article: Keep Moving: Keep Kids Dancing
Help make community connections to bring dance to your child's classroom
Dance, Physical Activity

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 5-8 Dance Standard 5
Demonstrating and understanding dance in various cultures and historical periods
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 5-8 Dance Standard 6
Making connections between dance and healthful living
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 5-8 Dance Standard 7
Making connections between dance and other disciplines
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 5-8 Dance Standard 4
Applying and demonstrating critical and creative thinking skills in dance
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 5-8 Dance Standard 1
Identifying and demonstrating movement elements and skills in performing dance
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 5-8 Dance Standard 2
Understanding choreographic principles, processes, and structures
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 5-8 Dance Standard 3
Understanding dance as a way to create and communicate meaning
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 9-12 Dance Standard 5
Demonstrating and understanding dance in various cultures and historical periods
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 9-12 Dance Standard 6
Making connections between dance and healthful living
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 9-12 Dance Standard 7
Making connections between dance and other disciplines
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 9-12 Dance Standard 4
Applying and demonstrating critical and creative thinking skills in dance
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 9-12 Dance Standard 1
Identifying and demonstrating movement elements and skills in performing dance
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 9-12 Dance Standard 2
Understanding choreographic principles, processes, and structures
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade 9-12 Dance Standard 3
Understanding dance as a way to create and communicate meaning
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade K-4 Dance Standard 5
Demonstrating and understanding dance in various cultures and historical periods
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade K-4 Dance Standard 6
Making connections between dance and healthful living
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade K-4 Dance Standard 7
Making connections between dance and other disciplines
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade K-4 Dance Standard 4
Applying and demonstrating critical and creative thinking skills in dance
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade K-4 Dance Standard 1
Identifying and demonstrating movement elements and skills in performing dance
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade K-4 Dance Standard 2
Understanding choreographic principles, processes, and structures
Education, Dance

Content & Achievement Standard: Grade K-4 Dance Standard 3
Understanding dance as a way to create and communicate meaning
Education, Dance

Twenty-First Century

Take Five: Arts in the 21st Century Classroom
The skills our students need can be readily integrated into arts lessons and vice versa
Theater, Music, Literature, Dance

Cultural Dancers

Take Five: Cultural Connections
Enliven and enrich your cultural heritage month observances through the arts
Music, Dance, Theater, Poetry, Literature, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Native America, World Cultures, India

Art Teacher With Students

Article: Do Tell: Giving Feedback to Your Students
How can arts educators provide engaging and useful feedback? Here are seven suggestions to get you started
Education, Young Artists, Musical Instruments, Theater, Literature, Music, Poetry, Ballet, Dance

Story to Life

Tipsheet: Stories Brought to Life
Learn about ways to increase student participation and skill building during interactive read-alouds
Theater, Music, Language, Education, Dance

Students Dancing

Tipsheet: Shall We Dance?: Foolproof Ways to Bring Dance into Your Classroom
Try these five easy ways to use dance and movement in your classroom
Dance, Education, Family, Music, Young Artists

Footsteps

Tipsheet: Social Dances for Upper Elementary
Some fun social dances to try with your upper-elementary-level students
Dance, Education, Music, Physical Activity

appalachian spring

Tipsheet: Dance and Historical Events
Dance helps students better understand the far-reaching impact of historical events on many areas of a nation’s life
Dance, History

Student Critique

Tipsheet: Thinking Outside the Test
Introduction to performance assessment, which provides educators with "real-world" arts assessment strategies
Education, Young Artists, Visual Arts, Dance, Musical Instruments, Poetry

Kids Dancing

Tipsheet: Five Easy Social Dances for Early Elementary
Channel your students’ love of movement with these easy social dances
Dance, Education, Music, Physical Activity

Elementary school girls dancing

Article: How Dance Can Teach Literature
How to incorporate dance into a traditional English classroom
Dance, Education, Literature, Young Artists

East High School Dancers

Article: Encouraging Your Students to Become Choreographers
Use these great ideas to get your students choreographing at your school
Broadway, Choreographers, Dance, Musicals, Theater, Young Artists

moccasins

Grades 6-8 Lesson: Moccasins Are Made for Dancing
Students will read either of Tomie DePaola’s versions of two Native American legends: The Legend of the Bluebonnet or The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush.
Dance, Folklore, Native America, America, World Cultures

Model of a human showing muscular striations kicking a soccer ball.

Grades 6-8 Lesson: Systems of the Body: Movement and Choreography
In this lesson, students will create movement patterns that express information about the basic systems, organs, and processes of the human body
Choreographers, Dance, Physical Activity, Science

Ballerina

Grades 6-8 Lesson: Elements of Ballet
Explore and discover the elements of dance by demonstrating various simple movements. This exercise will help assess the students’ level of experience and ability.
Ballet, Dance

Martha Graham's Errand into the Maze

Grades 6-8 Lesson: Interpreting Mythology Through Dance
In this lesson, students learn about Ancient Egyptian rituals and attitudes about death and the afterlife.
Greece, Literature, Dance, World Cultures

Painting of Nureyev by Jamie Wyeth

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Nureyev: Bringer of Light
This lesson focuses on the alignment of Nureyev’s artistic endeavors and achievements in the dance world of the West.
Choreographers, Dance Legends, Ballet, World Cultures

Painting of Nureyev by Jamie Wyeth

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Nureyev: The Unconquerable Will
This lesson provides an overview of how creative expression developed in the West, particularly in the development of dance.
Choreographers, Dance Legends, Ballet, World Cultures

Painting of Nureyev by Jamie Wyeth

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Nureyev: After Petipa
Nureyev’s early life and work were affected by changing social, political, and cultural forces in Russia. His artistic genius was influenced by the work of Marius Petipa.
Dance Legends, Ballet, World Cultures, Choreographers

Spanish dancer.

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Baila! Latin Dance in the Spanish Classroom
Learn about a variety of Latin dances through oral group presentations. Each group will research and present one dance.
Dance, Latin America, Physical Activity, World Cultures

Grimm's Fairy Tales book

Grade 5 Lesson: Moving Tales
Students practice using their bodies to communicate through movement, improvisation, and pantomime games. Groups then read and interpret an assigned Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale
Dance, Folklore, Literature, Physical Activity

Russian Folk Dancers

Grade 5 Lesson: Discovering Russian Folk Dance
Students will learn the Russian folk dance "Troika." Then, they will work in groups of three (the traditional grouping used in the "Troika") to research Russian culture and history.
Europe, Dance, Folklore

Dragon Dance for Chinese New Year

Grades K-2 Lesson: The Chinese Lion Dance
Dance in the Chinese New Year with your K-2 students
Animals, Asia, Dance, China, Folklore, World Cultures

Butterfly

Grades K-2 Lesson: The Dance of the Butterfly
Create an original dance that communicates the stages of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly.
Animals, Dance, Nature, Science, Plants

group of ballerinas

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Telling a Story Through Dance
This lesson introduces students to the concept of emotionally and physically telling a story through dance and pantomime.
Dance, Folklore, Literature

Square Dancers

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Swing Your Partner: The Basics of Square Dancing
This lesson will introduce students to the history of square dancing as well as provide an opportunity to learn some basic steps and formations.
Dance, Folklore

Kecak Dance, Uluwatu temple

Grades 3-4 Lesson: The Monkey Dance: Exploring Balinese Culture
The Kecak is a Balinese dance drama based on the Hindu epic Ramayana, which was compiled between 500 and 400 BC.
Asia, Dance, Physical Activity, World Cultures, Animals

Irish Dancers

Grades 3-4 Lesson: You’re Invited to a Ceili: Exploring Irish Dance
Listen to Irish music, learn about ceilis, which are festive dance celebrations, view the intricate costumes worn by Irish dancers, and listen to an Irish poem.
Dance, Europe, World Cultures, Music, Fashion, Poetry

Ballerinas

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Ballet and Classical Music
This lesson will introduce students to both conceptual and practical elements of classical ballet.
Ballet, Dance, Music, Orchestra

Jazz Dancers

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Jazz Music, Dance, and Poetry
In this lesson, students will be introduced to jazz dance and jazz music. They will explore basic jazz dance movements, and will create a cinquain poem inspired by jazz music.
Dance, Jazz, Music, Poetry

Hula dancers

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Island Breezes: Exploring Hula Dance
A hula dance is a choreographed interpretation of a poetic text, or mele, that tells a story through hand and arm gestures and rhythmic patterns.
Dance, Folklore, Geography, Asia, World Cultures

Harriet Tubman

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Harriet Tubman: Dancing on the Freedom Trail
In this lesson, students are introduced to the emotional struggles Tubman faced as she helped slaves escape and travel north along the Underground Railroad.
America, History, Folklore, Dance

ARTSEDGE

Video: ARTSEDGE
The Kennedy Center opens its doors to thousands of children each year – and hundreds of thousands more step in through ARTSEDGE, our K-12 arts education network.
Education, Dance, Literature, Music, Theater, Young Artists

Modern Dancers

Video: Hip-Hop Meets Modern: Dance is not Dance
What happens when Turkish hip-hop dancers travel to the United States on a modern dance exchange program? Hip-hop dancers discover the transition to modern dance is not an easy one, since the two forms are based on very different styles.
Dance, Hip-Hop, World Cultures, Europe, Young Artists, Physical Activity

Indonesian Dance

Video: Indonesian Dance
In appreciation for their three days of intense study and practice at the Hubbard Street Dance Center, the Indonesian visitors are happy to share their country’s traditional Javanese dancing with members of the Chicago dance company.
World Cultures, Asia, Dance, Young Artists

Pacifico

Video Series: Pacifico Dance Company
Compare and contrast the music and movement of traditional Mexican dances
Dance, Latin America, World Cultures

Video Series: Native Pride Dancers
Watch Native American dancers from the group Native Pride Dancers demonstrate the traditional eagle, fancy, grass and hoop dances
Folklore, Music, World Cultures, Native America, Dance

Swing dance

Video Series: Swing Dance
Get on the dance floor with dance instructors Nina and Bobby! Learn East Coast Swing, Charleston, and Lindy Hop in three instructional videos.
Dance, Music, Jazz, Popular Culture

Dancing feet

Video Series: Five(ish) Minute Dance Lessons
Our collection of Five(ish) Minute Dance Lessons will teach the moves that will let you hit the dance floor looking like a pro. From the African Dinhe, to the East Coast Swing, Charleston, Salsa or Cha Cha Cha, we've got you covered.
Dance, Latin America, Jazz, Africa

Latin Dance

Video Series: Latin Dance Level 2
These five minute Level 2 video lessons will help you learn new moves for four Latin dances: the Merengue, Salsa, Bachata, and Cha Cha Cha. Learn some history of these styles and how to hold while turning.
Dance, Music, Popular Culture, Latin America

Tango Feet

Video Series: Latin Dance Level 1
These five minute video lessons will help you learn three Latin dances: the Merengue, Salsa and Bachata. Learn the history of these styles and how to be a good partner.
Dance, Music, Popular Culture, Latin America

African Dance

Video Series: African Dance
These five-minute video lessons will help you learn the posture and isolations common in African dance, and about two African drums, the cajon and the djembe
Africa, Dance, World Cultures

Larry Yazee

Video Series: Larry & Jessup Yazzie: Fancy Dancers
Meskwaki Tribe member Larry Yazzie and his son, Jessup, discuss and perform traditional Native American dances.
Dance, Folklore, Native America

Peking Opera

Video Series: China: Arts & Culture
This video series brings you a glimpse of the history and diversity of China's performing arts
China, Dance, Geography, Musical Instruments, Music, Puppets, Theater, World Cultures, Asia

Galumpha

Video Series: Galumpha, The Human Jungle Gym
Galumpha, "The Human Jungle Gym," brings to life a world of imagination, beauty, muscle, and merriment
Dance, Physical Activity, Theater, Music, Jobs in the Arts

The Flying Legs Crew

Video Series: The Flying Legs Crew
The US Department of State and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts offer professional development opportunities to energize the work of emerging international artists in their own countries by bringing them to the United States and providing them with instructive and informative experiences in their arts discipline, exposure to the creation and performance of world-class art, and opportunities to develop relationships with U.S. arts professionals. This video series captures the sights and sounds of performing artists from Venezuela, Turkey, Bolivia, Palestine, Morocco, and Indonesia.
Dance, Geography, Hip-Hop, Latin America, Music, Popular Culture, World Cultures, Young Artists

Rokafella from Full Circle Productions

Video Series: Hip Hop To Da Head
Members of Full Circle Productions demonstrate different types of hip hop dance and music
Hip-Hop, Popular Culture, Dance, Young Artists

Martha Graham

Flash Interactive: A Dancer's Journal: Martha Graham
This interactive explores the life and works of Martha Graham from the perspective of a (fictional) new member of the Martha Graham Dance Company and includes a large library of video and audio clips.
Dance, Choreographers, Dance Legends, Controversial, Jobs in the Arts, Young Artists, Innovators & Pioneers

Interactive: Dancing With Gregory Hines
In this video-based interactive, Gregory Hines is your guide through the diverse and exciting history, people, and techniques of tap.
Backstage, Broadway, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, History, Innovators & Pioneers, Musicals

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Rhyme Time
How many words can you rhyme with dance? Use your list to write a short poem. Read it to a friend or family member.
Language, Poetry, Dance

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Toe Tunes
Tap your feet to your favorite song. Can your feet keep the beat?
Music, Dance

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Sweep Steppin’
Dance with a broom. Don’t feel silly, it won’t tell anyone. How many different dances can you two do?
Dance

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Changing Channels
Change the dial on your car’s FM radio and find a song you’ve never heard before. Take a listen. Dance in your seat to an unfamiliar tune.
Rock & Roll, Music, Dance, Physical Activity

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Do a Little Dance
It’s hot. It’s summer. It’s time to water the grass. Be a human sprinkler. Get into a rhythm. It’s the sprinkler dance! Make sure to cover the whole lawn!
Dance, Physical Activity, Nature, Plants

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: JELL-O Wiggle
Pretend you’re dancing on JELL-O. How well do you wiggle in JELL-O? Is it easy or hard to keep your balance?
Dance, Physical Activity

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Jock Jams
Choose a song and use moves or actions from a sport to dance along? What sport did you choose? Now try another. Can you teach someone else the dance?
Sports, Dance, Physical Activity

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Makin’ Moves
Create a new dance move. What kind of music does it go with? What do you call it?
Dance, Music, Physical Activity

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Long Legs
Perform a grand jeté, or leap, like a ballet dancer. Measure the distance you go. Does it help to have a running start?
Ballet, Sports, Physical Activity, Dance

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Arts Quotes: Friedrich Nietzsche
"We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once."
Europe, Literature, Dance

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Arts Quotes: Anna Pavlova
"Master technique and then forget about it and be natural."
Ballet, Europe, Dance, Dance Legends

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Arts Quotes: Simonides
"Dancing is silent poetry."
Greece, Poetry, Dance

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Arts Quotes: Twyla Tharp
"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home."
America, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends

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Arts Quotes: Mary Wigman
"Strong and convincing art has never risen from theories."
Europe, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Innovators & Pioneers

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Arts Quotes: Plato
"To sing well and to dance well is to be well-educated."
Greece, Music, Dance

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Arts Quotes: Hans Bos
"When I dance, I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life."
Europe, Literature, Dance

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Arts Quotes: Pamela Brown
"Dance can give the inarticulate a voice."
Dance, Literature

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Arts Quotes: Pamela Brown
"A child sings before it speaks, dances almost before it walks, music is with us from the beginning."
Dance, Music, Young Artists, Literature

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Arts Quotes: Samuel Beckett
"Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order."
Dance, Playwrights & Plays, Theater

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Arts Quotes: Vicki Baum
"There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them."
Europe, Dance, Literature

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Arts Quotes: Ludmilla Chiriaeff
"Ladanse,c'est le mouvement,et le mouvement, c'est la vie.
Dance is movement, and movement is life."
Dance Legends, Dance, Ballet

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Arts Quotes: S.T. Coleridge
"How inimitably graceful children are in general -- before they learn to dance."
Poetry, Literature, Dance

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Arts Quotes: Lord Byron
"On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined."
Dance

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Arts Quotes: Erik Bruhn
"Dance every performance as if it were your last.'
Dance Legends, Dance, Ballet, Europe

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Arts Quotes: Anonymous
"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, backwards and on high heels."
Dance Legends, Dance, Movies & Movie Stars

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Arts Quotes: Anonymous
"Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain."
Dance

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Arts Quotes: Paige Arden
"Dance isn't something that can be explained in words; it has to be danced."
Dance Legends, Dance

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Arts Quotes: Alice Abrams
"In life as in the dance: Grace glides on blistered feet."
Dance Legends, Dance, Physical Activity

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Arts Quotes: George Balanchine
"First comes the sweat. Then comes the beauty if you're very lucky and have said your prayers."
Backstage, Dance Legends, Ballet, Dance, Choreographers

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Arts Quotes: George Balanchine
"I don't want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance."
Choreographers, Dance Legends, Ballet, Dance

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Arts Quotes: George Balanchine
"Dance is music made visible."
Dance Legends, Music, Choreographers, Dance, Ballet

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Arts Quotes: Charles Baudelaire
"Dancing can reveal all the mystery that music conceals."
Dance, Europe, Literature, Poetry

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Arts Quotes: Mikhail Baryshnikov
"The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure."
Dance Legends, Dance, Ballet

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Arts Quotes: W.H. Auden
"Dance till the stars come down from the rafters. Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop."
Dance, Literature, Poetry

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Arts Quotes: Fred Astaire
"I just dance. I just put my feet in the air and move them around."
Dance Legends, Physical Activity, Dance, Movies & Movie Stars

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Arts Quotes: Constanze
"Dancing is like dreaming with your feet."
Dance

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Arts Quotes: Martha Graham
"No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time. It is just that the others are behind the time."
Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, America

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Arts Quotes: Margot Fonteyn
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable."
Ballet, Dance, Dance Legends

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Arts Quotes: Martha Graham
"Dance is the hidden language of the soul."
America, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends

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Arts Quotes: Martha Graham
"Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion."
America, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends

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Arts Quotes: Agnes De Mille
"The truest expression of a people is in its dances and its music. Bodies never lie."
Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers

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Arts Quotes: Merce Cunningham
"The only way to do it is to do it."
Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends

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Arts Quotes: Arlene Croce
"Good choreography fuses eye, ear, and mind."
Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends

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Arts Quotes: Ibrahim Farrah
"Dance is so important in the world. It needs no language. Our bodies speak a language of its own."
World Cultures, Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers

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Arts Quotes: John Dryden
"Dancing is the poetry of the foot."
Europe, Literature, Dance

Jerome Robbins instructing

Arts Days: October 11, 1918: Where Broadway Meets Ballet
The man born Jerome Rabinowitz infused 20th-century choreography with a uniquely American flavor. The work he did for ballets like Fancy Free displayed his penchant for freely mixing elements of many different types of dance: jazz, ballet, modern, and folk.

That creativity was burnished by Robbins’ work on a string of legendary Broadway musicals, from West Side Story to Fiddler on the Roof and Gypsy. A 1981 Kennedy Center Honor recipient, Robbins balanced his theatrical projects with ballet choreography throughout his career. With his dancing feet planted firmly in both camps, it’s no surprise Robbins won Tony Awards®, Academy Awards®, and served as ballet master of the New York City Ballet in the 1970s.
Musicals, Ballet, Dance, Choreographers, Dance Legends, Innovators & Pioneers

Conway Twitty, Chubby Checker and Dick Clark doing

Arts Days: September 19, 1960: The Dance Craze Is On
Chubby Checker’s version of this song started a dance revolution. Kids everywhere were dancing the Twist’s signature moves: swiveling hips, stretching out arms, lifting one foot off the floor every now and then. Though the dance was considered fairly provocative, the song’s ascent drove the popularity of the Twist and made it mainstream.

Dance crazes were nothing new: for example, in the 15th century, noblemen and women went crazy for the minuet, while in the 1930s, everybody was doing the jitterbug. Basically, anytime people gather to dance, a new fad could be spawned. Think about that next time you’re dancing with your pals—maybe you will invent the next Mashed Potato or Moonwalk!
Choreographers, Rock & Roll, Popular Culture, Dance, Music

Star Search

Arts Days: September 17, 1983: Make Me a Star Tonight
Searching for tomorrow’s superstar singers and dancers? Before there was American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, there was Star Search. Ordinary contestants sang, danced, and performed comedy skits on national TV, with judges and a studio audience voting for a winner.

Lots of artists who made it big competed on Star Search, including Christina Aguilera and Rosie O’Donnell. Interestingly, few of the actual winners are household names today. The original show ran until 1995. A new version launched in 2002, but lasted for only two years. American Idol, which also began in 2002, pretty much ate Star Search for lunch.
Art Venues, Comedy, Dance, Music, Popular Culture, Television, Young Artists

Agnes De Mille

Arts Days: September 18, 1905: Dance Queen of Broadway
Her father William and her uncle Cecil were both big-shot Hollywood directors, so perhaps it was genetic that Agnes de Mille sought a life in the arts. She studied piano, considered acting and took dance lessons, and choreographed big dance sequences for movies like Cleopatra and ballets including the sensational Rodeo (which received 22 curtain calls). Yet it was as a choreographer for the theatrical stage that de Mille really found her calling.

The dance routines she created were anything but routine. Musicals like Carousel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and especially Oklahoma! revolutionized musical theater by the way de Mille incorporated her choreography right into the plot, further rounding out characters’ personalities, and blending folk dance with ballet.
Backstage, Broadway, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Musicals, Theater

Ed Sullivan

Arts Days: September 28, 1901: Talent Scout
Hard to believe but for more than three decades, Ed Sullivan's television variety show kept Americans entertained. Sullivan, a former sports reporter and radio announcer, became an emcee to vaudeville revues and charity events. Despite his famously wooden persona and uncomfortable on-camera appearance, Sullivan knew how to choose and showcase talent.

Until 1971, The Ed Sullivan Show provided a staging arena for entertainers of all stripes. Elvis made his hip-shaking debut in 1956; the Beatles’ 1964 appearances were some of television’s highest rated programs. The show was as likely to feature opera performances as it was rock and roll bands, and hosted many black performers, including Pearl Bailey, Diana Ross, and Louis Armstrong.
Art Venues, America, Television, Young Artists, Rock & Roll, Comedy, Dance, Theater, Music

The John F. Kennedy Center

Arts Days: September 08, 1971: America’s Home for the Arts
In 1958, President Eisenhower signed legislation to build a national cultural center in Washington, D.C. Yet in the wake of President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Congress decided that the center would be a “living memorial” to our 35th president, who had worked tirelessly to elevate the role of the arts in America.

Opening night saw the debut performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, written in memory of the fallen president; other performers included the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Berkshire Boys Choir. Since that night, the Center has welcomed and entertained millions as the finest performers from around the globe have graced its multiple stages. In addition, its Education Department touches more than 11 million young people, teachers, and parents each year.
Architecture, Art Venues, Backstage, Ballet, Choreographers, Composers, Dance, Dance Legends, America, Innovators & Pioneers, Music, Music Legends, Musicals, Opera, Theater

Gene Kelly

Arts Days: August 23, 1912: Dancing Up a Storm
Dancer, actor, choreographer, boyishly handsome good guy—that was Gene Kelly, the fellow who bought a one-way ticket to New York City when he was a young man and soon landed a Broadway lead.

Kelly pushed for Hollywood to make more musicals and wound up dominating the musical revival in the 1940s and 50s. In timeless movies like Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, Kelly’s elegant dancing stole the show.

He made it look so easy, yet his dancing demanded great strength, technical skill, and expression. In his choreography and in his performances, he melded everything from classical ballet to jazz to athletic prowess to tap dancing. And by the way, he could sing, too.
America, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Musicals, Movies & Movie Stars

Madonna

Arts Days: August 16, 1958: Lady Madonna
Madonna Louise Ciccone was born into a large Italian-American family with a strong Catholic faith. Yet she has said that her ethnic and religious roots fed her desire to rebel. Among other things, she dropped out of college to move to New York and dressed provocatively, often mixing religious icons with her revealing stage outfits.

In songs she wrote such as “Like a Prayer” and “Papa Don’t Preach,” Madonna pushed lyrical boundaries; and in her popular videos on MTV, she made polished, sometimes controversial mini-movies to go with her songs.

A string of dance-able hits and a charismatic personality, plus her chameleon-like ability to change her look and style from one record to the next, have made Madonna one of the world’s biggest pop stars.
America, Dance, Music, Popular Culture, Rock & Roll, Fashion

Sammy Davis, Jr.

Arts Days: December 08, 1925: The Ultimate Entertainer
Whether singing, acting, playing instruments, or tap-dancing, Sammy Davis, Jr. always performed with style and elegance. A Kennedy Center Honoree in 1987, Davis was just three years old when he made his vaudeville debut. In young adulthood, he played clubs, landed movie roles (including one in the original Ocean’s Eleven from 1960), starred on the Broadway stage, and even got his own TV program, The Sammy Davis Jr. Show.

Signed to Capitol, Reprise and several other record companies over the decades, Davis’ hit songs include “Mr. Bojangles” and “What Kind of Fool Am I.” His friendships with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and other big stars of the day earned him a place in the Rat Pack, a crew of Hollywood hotshots who partied and performed together.
Movies & Movie Stars, Innovators & Pioneers, Music Legends, Music, Dance, Dance Legends

Pérez Prado

Arts Days: December 11, 1916: Mambo King
Of Mexican and Cuban heritage, Pérez Prado helped bring Latin music to whole new crowds of listeners around the globe. The “King of the Mambo” played piano and led bands throughout his career, including the Pérez Prado Orchestra—today led by his son, Perez Prado, Jr. in Mexico City. And, he wrote music for people to dance the mambo, better known today as salsa dancing.

Prado described his mambo as being “an Afro-Cuban rhythm with a dash of American swing.” Makes sense. Prado’s best-known pieces, like “Mambo No. 5” and “Mambo Jambo,” had American audiences dancing in the aisles of his concerts, which often sold out.
Composers, Innovators & Pioneers, Music Legends, Dance, Music, Latin America

Performers dancing to Berkeley’s choreography

Arts Days: November 29, 1895: Busby's Babes
Back in the 1930s, one young man's dream job was to choreograph the most attractive, scantily-clad chorus girls on Broadway and in Hollywood. Born William Berkeley Enos, this innovative dance director created visually-stunning spectacles for his audience, arranging dancers in elaborate geometric shapes, and taking inspiration from multi-pronged kaleidoscopes or snowflakes.

Sometimes, he’d position dancers to look like the spokes of a wheel, or a human waterfall. And then, he would film these spectacular routines with a mobile camera. Berkeley also shot close-ups of each pretty girl, making what he called a “parade of faces.” The Berkeley touch is clearly obvious in movies like 42nd Street and Broadway Serenade. And believe it or not, the man never took a single dance lesson in his entire life.
Broadway, Choreographers, Innovators & Pioneers, Dance Legends, Dance, Movies & Movie Stars

Jacques d’Amboise

Arts Days: July 28, 1934: Dancing for Joy
Few have done more to teach children about the joy of dance than this 1995 Kennedy Center Honoree.

D’Amboise was only 16 when he joined George Balanchine’s company, often partnered with Suzanne Farrell. As one of the earliest dancers and interpreters of Balanchine’s style, d’Amboise brought a powerful American energy to ballet.

When he was still a principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, Jacques d’Amboise founded the National Dance Institute, a program that teaches thousands of youngsters to dance and express themselves through ballet, jazz, and other forms of dance.
Europe, Dance, Dance Legends, Ballet, Choreographers

Rudolf Nureyev

Arts Days: March 17, 1938: Ballet's Rebel
Rudolf Nureyev was born on a train, setting the stage for a lifetime of perpetual movement, onstage and off. The premier male ballet dancer of his time, Nureyev began dancing to folk music as a child, attracting the attention of teachers who signed him to a local ballet troupe. He soon moved on to a major Russian ballet company, the Kirov, where he danced lead roles and got permission to leave the Soviet Union to dance in other cities like Vienna and Paris.

His dancing enchanted audiences, but his defection from the USSR in 1961 stunned the dance world. He soon signed with London’s Royal Ballet, the company he remained with until 1970. Nureyev’s creative partnerships with prima ballerinas like Margot Fonteyn are legendary; their pas de deux (“dance for two”) in Giselle and other ballets are exquisite examples of technical prowess and gorgeous artistry.
Ballet, Dance Legends, Dance, Controversial, Innovators & Pioneers

Nutcracker

Arts Days: March 19, 1892: A Winter Wonderland
The most popular ballet of all time is quite an international affair. Consider this: The story behind The Nutcracker was by a German writer, E.T.A. Hoffman. The music was written by a Russian composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. And the dance steps of the version you are most likely to enjoy this Christmas were created by Frenchman Marius Petipa.

On this day, Tchaikovsky chose several pieces of his score to perform at an event offered by the St. Petersburg branch of the Musical Society. While the music was incredibly well-received, the version of the ballet we know and love today—filled with delicious dances from the Land of Sweets, performed by the Sugar Plum Fairy and dozens of others—did not emerge for another 60-odd years.

Enjoying the ballet’s fantastic sights—a sparkling Christmas tree shooting up into the rafters, the Nutcracker turning into a prince, and the Mouse King in battle—is a holiday ritual for many families around the world.
Ballet, Dance Legends, Dance, Music, Composers

Arthur Mitchell

Arts Days: March 27, 1934: Breaking Ballet’s Barriers
After learning to tap dance as a child, Arthur Mitchell wowed a teacher with his version of the jitterbug, a dance popular in the 1940s. Mitchell was encouraged to apply at New York’s High School of Performing Arts. After graduation, Mitchell went on to win a scholarship to the famed School of American Ballet, then to join the New York City Ballet. There, he was told he would have to work twice as hard as the white dancers to be accepted.

In 1957, he performed George Balanchine’s Agon to audiences shocked at the sight of a white woman paired with a black male dancer. Mr. Balanchine ignored the attention, and at 21, Mitchell became the first black male principal dancer of a major dance company and a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1993.
Ballet, Dance, Dance Legends, Innovators & Pioneers

Spotlight

Arts Days: March 16, 1912: Electrifying Art
It can be easy to overlook the role that lighting plays during a ballet or theatrical production, but you’d be surprised at how much a performance’s lighting design contributes to our enjoyment of it. From how well we are able to see the action to the emotions we feel as we watch, Jean Rosenthal helped make the position of lighting designer more important than it had been.

In her work lighting dance performances for Martha Graham and plays for Orson Welles, she not only used lights to illuminate the action for the audience, but to set the mood, advance the plot, or underscore the importance of certain characters. Nowadays, lighting designers work closely with the director and actors to figure out how to use light effectively before, during, and after a show. And, if you’ve seen a dancer or singer standing in a diagonal shaft of light during a big solo, you’re seeing a bit of Rosenthal’s influence at work.
Backstage, Dance, Innovators & Pioneers, Jobs in the Arts, Movies & Movie Stars, Theater

Vaslav Nijinsky

Arts Days: March 12, 1889: Lord of the Dance
One of the most talented ballet dancers the world has ever seen, Polish dancer Vaslav Nijinksy is forever associated with Russia and its exceptional heritage of ballet. Without question, Nijinsky could leap higher than anyone else and dance on the tips of his toes, a feat usually performed only by female dancers. Whether portraying a straw puppet in Petrushka or a charming prince in Sleeping Beauty, Nijinsky’s dancing was equally expressive and bold.

But Nijinsky’s career truly turned the corner when he met ballet producer Sergei Diaghilev. Diaghilev made Nijinsky one of the stars of his famous dance company, the Ballets Russes. Over the years, Nijinsky often performed in starring roles in Gisele, Scheherezade, and many other important ballets. Later in his career, he went on to choreograph his own ballets, breaking the rules about how ballet “should” be performed and greatly expanding modern dance as he did so.
Dance, Dance Legends, Controversial, Innovators & Pioneers

Saturday Night Fever

Arts Days: February 16, 1979: Disco Fever… Can You Dig It?
Who’d have thought that a movie about a Brooklyn kid in a white suit trying to win dance contests would kick off a disco phenomenon? Well, actor John Travolta boogied down as 19-year-old Tony Manero in this classic movie, whose music—about half of which was performed by the Bee Gees, a trio of brothers from Down Under—swept the nation in 1979, and never really went away.

In songs like “Jive Talkin’” and “You Should Be Dancing,” the Brothers Gibb (get it? B-Gs) exhorted listeners to forget their day-to-day troubles to the flashing lights and thumping tunes of discothèques, which were springing up all over New York City and other urban centers.
Innovators & Pioneers, Popular Culture, Dance, Music, Movies & Movie Stars

King David Kalakaua

Arts Days: February 12, 1874: The King of Aloha
Before Hawaii became America’s 50th state, it was a monarchy ruled by King David Kalakaua I. Kalakaua is credited with helping to revive and support Hawaiian art forms like hula dancing; instruments like the ukelele; and martial arts, like Lua.

You see, some religious missionaries on the Islands thought these activities were improper. They had spent years before Kalakaua was elected to the throne trying to suppress various elements of Hawaiian culture, including its languages and art customs—even surfing!

But Kalakaua believed that these traditions and activities were important for native Hawaiians to learn, enjoy, and share with others to help keep Hawaii’s unique cultural history alive.  For his efforts, he was nicknamed “the Merrie Monarch.”
Dance, America, Geography, History, Musical Instruments, Music, Folklore, World Cultures

Johann Strauss II

Arts Days: February 09, 1867: Step, Slide, Step
Austria’s Johann Strauss, the Younger, would be absolutely amazed to know the extent to which his work “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” has endured as one of the best-known pieces of classical music.

At the time this 19th century successful composer and conductor, and son of Johann Strauss, The Elder, was known for his light dance music and operettas. But it was this waltz in particular, with its distinct melody and dance rhythms, that became the focus of every concert hall’s dance floor first in Vienna, and later in Europe.

In 1872, Strauss brought his Viennese waltz to America’s shores where the music and dance captivated the country. On this particular day, Blue Danube was performed at a concert of the Vienna Men’s Choral Association.

Strauss is credited with composing 500 waltzes, earning him the title of “Waltz King.”
Composers, Dance, Music, Orchestra, Europe

George Balanchine

Arts Days: January 22, 1904: A Ballet Master is Born
George Balanchine was one of the most prolific, and often considered the most influential, ballet choreographers of the 20th century. Born on this day in Saint Petersburg, Russia, he revolutionized classical ballet by eliminating complex plots and emphasizing movements that expressed music.

Balanchine created more than 400 ballets and founded the New York City Ballet. His artistry and fresh approach helped popularize ballet in the United States. Balanchine worked with thousands of dancers and created more than 400 ballets.
Choreographers, Dance Legends, Ballet, Dance

Anna Pavlova

Arts Days: January 31, 1881: Turning Pointe in Ballet
After attending the classic ballet The Sleeping Beauty as a little girl, Anna Pavlova wanted nothing more than to be a ballerina.

At age ten, she was accepted to study at the renowned Imperial Ballet School in Saint Petersburg, Russia. For years, she struggled in training, finding basic ballet techniques difficult due to her arched feet and thin ankles—body parts ballet dancers rely on for balance and grace.

Nevertheless, Pavlova was determined to fulfill her dream, and so she enrolled in extra classes and practiced every day. Her hard work paid off, and when she graduated, she was invited to join the Imperial Ballet Company.

She is also credited for the design of the modern pointe shoe. To ease the stress on her curved feet, Pavlova strengthened her ballet slippers by adding a piece of hard wood on the soles for support and curving the box of the shoes to fit her arches.
Inventions, Dance Legends, Innovators & Pioneers, Ballet, Dance

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Arts Days: January 28, 1948: Ballet’s Leading Man
Mikhail Baryshnikov is often considered one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century, known for his dynamic stage presence and effortless grasp of classical technique.

In 1974, after professional training and a promising start at the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he defected from the Soviet Union to seek artistic and personal freedom in the West. Baryshnikov made his Western debut with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) that same year, dancing in the classic ballet Giselle.

He stayed with ABT for four years before moving to the New York City Ballet, where he worked with choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. He returned to ABT in 1980 as principal dancer and artistic director, distinguished positions he held for almost a decade.

Since then, Baryshnikov has dabbled in acting in both film and television. In 2000, he was a Kennedy Center honoree.
Dance Legends, Ballet, Dance

Alvin Ailey

Arts Days: January 05, 1931: A Dance Revelation
Alvin Ailey hadn't become serious about dance until he studied under the guidance of renowned choreographer Lester Horton.

By 1954, after years of professional dancing, Ailey's interests turned to choreography. Strongly influenced by "blood memories," or recollections of his childhood in a time of strong racial tensions and conflict, Ailey created 79 ballets in his lifetime that celebrate the southern African American experience in America.

In 1958 he formed his own company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the first racially integrated dance company in the United States. Alvin Ailey was a 1988 Kennedy Center Honoree.
Choreographers, Dance Legends, Innovators & Pioneers, Dance

Igor Stravinsky

Arts Days: June 17, 1882: Blazing Music's Trail
One of the greatest composers and conductors of 20th century music, Igor Stravinsky was urged by his parents to become a lawyer. But he was bitten by the musical bug as a child, attending concerts, learning to play piano, and most importantly, studying orchestration with his influential teacher, composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov.

At just 18, Stravinsky was hired to compose a score for the Ballets Russes. The Firebird, which met with critical and commercial success, was followed by more ballet scores, including Petrushka. His score for another ballet, The Rite of Spring, startled and even outraged listeners at its world premiere with its creative experimentation of chords and rhythms.

Stravinsky drew on Russian folk tunes in his works, but added elements that were completely his own, from new rhythmic patterns to polytonality, sounds that no one had ever heard before in symphonic music. Far ahead of his time, Stravinsky shook up people’s beliefs of what classical music was by reinventing modern music.
Ballet, Composers, Dance, Music, Music Legends, Orchestra

Chicago

Arts Days: June 23, 1927: Razzle Dazzle Man
From the hip roll to the finger snap to the perfectly angled hat—these are just some of the signature moves of the unmistakable “Fosse look.”

Jazz choreographer Bob Fosse invented so many moves that are now essential in modern dance that the casual observer may not even be aware of how widespread his influence continues to be. He broke new ground with dances that were demanding, entertaining, and provocative—often by creating one sharp, simple isolated movement. He honed his style in musicals like The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Sweet Charity, and Pippin and saw his creativity peak in the musical Chicago and the autobiographical film All That Jazz.

The second film Bob Fosse directed, 1972’s Cabaret, won eight Academy Awards® including Best Director.
Broadway, Choreographers, Controversial, Dance, Dance Legends, Innovators & Pioneers, Jazz

Isadora Duncan

Arts Days: May 27, 1877: Something in the Way She Moves
Inspired by everything from ancient Greek art to the power of nature embodied in rushing rivers and rainy weather, Isadora Duncan poured all she had into dancing, which she believed to be the body’s expression of the soul’s innermost desires. She rejected classical ballet as too confining and controlled.

A true free spirit, Duncan brought a new athleticism to dancing; her choreography was full of leaps and jumps and skips. Barefoot, her long hair flying, dressed in Grecian-inspired flowing tunics, she was a captivating sight as she danced. She taught her students that the energy they need for dance originated in the solar plexus, a group of nerves in the body’s abdominal region.
America, Controversial, Dance, Dance Legends, Innovators & Pioneers, Choreographers

Michael Jackson Moonwalks

Arts Days: May 16, 1983: A Marvelous Night for a Moon Dance
The crowd at the Motown 25th Anniversary Special erupted in shrieks. On stage was Michael Jackson, performing his song “Billie Jean.” Jackson spun on his heels, looked both ways, and then seemed to slide backward across the stage as though pulled by an invisible string.

Those who master the move seem to be walking forward and sliding backward at the same time. Others had done the moonwalk, or backslide, but Michael Jackson made the move his very own. Every time he did it, his fans went crazy. As a solo artist, the moonwalk was only one of Jackson's incredible moves; throw in his dance-floor hits like “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” and “Thriller,” his singing, that single, spangled glove, and his mysterious persona, and you had a celebrity of nearly-unparalleled global fame.
Dance Legends, Music Legends, Rock & Roll, Popular Culture, Dance, Music

Martha Graham Dance Company

Arts Days: April 18, 1926: Mother of Modern Dance
The first dance performance Martha Graham attended at age 16 with the legendary Ruth St. Denis on the program, may have flickered through Graham’s mind when the lights went down at the 48th Street Theater in New York City, just before she made her debut. The movements she and her fellow dancers were performing that night were anything but traditional. What the audience witnessed was an early public display of Graham’s “contract and release” technique, in which muscles were held taut, then let go in accordance with the emotions a dancer sought to convey. The movements were angular, athletic, jagged—in marked contrast to the graceful style of classical ballet.

Within a year, Graham opened a dance school, attracting attention from many in the dance community. One of the most acclaimed dancers in history, Graham’s choreography shook up the world of modern dance.
Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Controversial, Innovators & Pioneers

Grey Skies Blue

Cuesheet: Grey Skies Blue: Performed by SHAPESHIFT Theatrical
A young woman is forced to confront her past when her estranged mother suddenly appears at her doorstep. Two lifelong friends face a journey of cultural and self-identity together. A promising relationship is jeopardized by deception. Can any of them trust their friends or companions? And how well do they truly know themselves?
Theater, Accessibility, Dance

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