dance video of the day - dance at the gym

Submitted by Susan Miller on Wed, 02/18/2009 - 18:10.

Tonight on WVIZ and Monday Night on WEAO/WNEO Kent see Jerome Robbins on American Masters

Balanchine pales in comparison to this guy who shaped the face of dance in America more than anyone.  Here's his choreography that you're sure to know - Dance at the Gym from Westside Story - You'll also remember "the sharks and the jets - which features a young Eliot Feld.

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Too bad that Jerome Robbins squealed and turned on his friends before the House Un-American Activities Committee. It overshadows all of his many achievements. We caught the WVIZ program last night. Amazing genius, but the lie.

tortured soul

Clearly his family background and fear of his bi-sexual relations pressed on him. Being gay was perhaps even worse than being communist in those days. The whole McCarthy business was dastardly and led to the undoing of many. How many were brought before panels?

My own father was accused (and acquitted) in a military investigation. However, subsequently, he and my mother had to watch while his colleagues surpassed him with promotions. His only brother submitted an affidavit stating that he had been a member of the communist party. I don't know, but he may well have been at one time. My brother and sister and I did not discover this until after my mother died and we found the papers locked in a trunk in the attic. In any case, the McCarthy Inquisition made many people do unthinkable things and our inability to accept others - our lack of tolerance continues to encourage people to hide and lie under pressure. Robbins never lived this down. He regretted it til the day he died.

His work was about real people dancing far more than any proclaimed "people moving around in space" Merce Cunningham dances. Of necessity, his delving into the human psyche and his own would have wrought some trouble. Because he lived at the time he did - well, that's history.

The man was loved by some and hated by many. His work is exceptional. He changed American dance more than any one choreographer. His ability to stretch performers and collaborators, though reportedly uncomfortable, also deepened or sharpened performing arts talent here in the US.