August 2016 | Dance History Quiz

Fun facts for teachers and students

1 Which counterculture event brought together postmodern dance master Anna Halprin, the Grateful Dead, and 10,000  hippies?

a. Woodstock Music & Art Fair, 1969
b. The Trips Festival, 1966
c. Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes, 1972
d. Earthrise, 1968


2 Which statement about actress/dancer Cyd Charisse is not true?

a. She could tap dance.
b. She recovered from polio.
c. She was born Tula Ellice Finklea.
d. She appeared in the music video for Janet Jackson’s “Alright.”

3 One of Antony Tudor’s best-known works is Jardin aux Lilas (Lilac Garden), originally performed by Ballet Rambert. On the ballet’s opening night in 1936, what did Tudor do to help set the mood?

a. He arranged for female audience members to receive fresh lilac sprigs.
b. He sprayed the auditorium with lilac perfume.
c. He sprinkled flower petals on the stage.
d. He filled the female dancers’ dressing rooms with lilacs.

4 The world of professional ballet is often stressful. Which stress-busting items are American Ballet Theatre dancers allowed to bring with them to the studio every day?

a. Adult coloring books
b. A personal masseuse
c. Pillows and blankets for mid-afternoon naps
d. Their dogs

5 If it’s 1929 and you are an adagio dancer in vaudeville, which type of dance are you doing?

a. An early type of lyrical dancing based on the balances, arabesques, and pirouettes associated with adagio study in classical ballet
b. A series of partner lifts and throws, incorporating acrobatic movements and circus arts, designed to shock and awe the audience
c. A slow, sensuous ballroom dance generally presented by married couples because of the close proximity of the dancers’ bodies
d. Any dance done to music written in an adagio tempo

6 Swedish choreographer Mats Ek has captivated the dance world for decades, turning out both contemporary works and remakes of classical ballets rich in modern expressionism and theatricality. This year, as he turned 70, he shocked the dance world when he made which announcement?

a. He plans to retire his entire repertoire of works.
b. He is taking over as artistic director of a small ballet company in Siberia.
c. He will return to a professional performing career.
d. He will never teach or coach again.

7 Many of the United States’ strong regional ballet companies were founded by women: Boston Ballet by E. Virginia Williams, Atlanta Ballet by Dorothy Alexander, Kansas City Ballet by Tatiana Dokoudovska, Houston Ballet by Nina Popova. The highly esteemed Pennsylvania Ballet was founded by Barbara Weisberger, whose early dance training was marked by which unique distinction?

a. She went on pointe at age 5.
b. She studied folk dancing with Bronislava Nijinska.
c. She was the first child at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet.
d. She was the first American to portray Clara in The Nutcracker.

8 In the mid–20th century, which female choreographer was often referred to in the tap dance community as “the woman who killed tap”?

a. Lucia Chase
b. Ruby Keeler
c. Mitzi Gaynor
d. Agnes de Mille