August 2017 | Dance History Quiz

DHQ_T
Fun facts for teachers & students

1 According to Duane Lee Holland Jr., the first professor of hip-hop at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, what are the five styles of hip-hop dance?

a. Krumping, locking, waving, tutting, and top rock
b. Popping, locking, breaking, hip-hop, and house
c. Alternative, East Coast, urban, pop, and rockin’
d. Gangsta, boogaloo, uprock, spinning, and jookin

Answer
b. Popping, locking, breaking, hip-hop, and house

In a video segment on Boston ABC affiliate WCVB, BoCo professor Duane Lee Holland Jr. explained that hip-hop dance, music, and culture grew out of neighborhood parties held in the South Bronx in the 1970s. Partygoers responded to the beats and rhythms laid down by DJs such as Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa with movements that blended jazz, improvisatory expression, and African influences, he said. “In Senegal they speak Wolof,” Holland said to WCVB. “The term ‘hippy’ means ‘to be knowledgeable or conscious,’ and ‘hop’ is the same as dance, so therefore you are a knowledgeable mover of a knowledgeable movement, and that is essentially what hip-hop is.”

For more information:

2 This spring, American Ballet Theatre artist in residence Alexei Ratmansky resurrected Richard Strauss’ long-forgotten ballet Whipped Cream, a bit of whimsy about a Viennese pastry shop. The 2017 ballet’s innocent-with-an-edge sets and costumes were designed by artist Mark Ryden, whose painting of a girl in a blond bob and “red” dress inspired what pop culture flashpoint?

a. The Hunger Games
b. Sia’s “Chandelier” video
c. Lady Gaga’s meat dress
d. La La Land

Answer
c. Lady Gaga’s meat dress

According to the New York Times, Whipped Cream was the first theatrical undertaking for pop-surrealist artist Mark Ryden, whose early career projects included illustrating album covers for Michael Jackson and others. Ryden had achieved a level of celebrity for his macabre paintings when, in 2010, Lady Gaga shocked the MTV Video Music Awards audience with her edible ensemble: a dress, hat, shoes, and purse made of meat by designer Franc Fernandez. Art connoisseurs quickly noted the resemblance between Gaga’s bloody dress and Ryden’s painting Incarnation, which depicts a childlike blonde in a stylish—although gruesome—dress made of raw meat. The Times asked Ryden about Gaga’s dress, which made headlines around the world. ‘What can I say for the record?” he said. “It’s flattering to be the inspiration for another creative person.”

3 True or false: In the famous “Singin’ in the Rain” dance that appears in the movie of the same name, Gene Kelly’s tap sounds were dubbed by assistants tapping in buckets of water.


a. True
b. False

Answer
b. False

In a 2016 interview with Radio Times, Gene Kelly’s widow Patricia Ward Kelly addressed the myths that still swirl around the iconic “Let’s put on a show” musical film, Singin’ in the Rain. Patricia Kelly said that her husband dubbed his own taps in a difficult process that involved trying to match his movements exactly while he watched footage of himself dancing. He’d listen to the music playback in a headset, while a microphone dangling at his feet picked up his tap sounds. “Gene hated it,” Patricia Kelly said. “He said it was very hard to make sure he didn’t break an ankle.” Gene Kelly and the sound engineer tried a couple of different ways to record what might sound like dancing in water, but in the end the sound engineer was able to mesh “a kind of ‘squish’ sound” with the sound from Gene’s metal taps, she said.

4 Match the stage names of these famous dancers (lowercase letters) to their real names (capital letters):


a. Melissa Hayden
b. Suzanne Farrell
c. Ninette de Valois
d. Allegra Kent

A. Edris Stannus
B. Mildred Herman
C. Iris Margo Cohen
D. Roberta Sue Ficker

Answer
a.-Bb-D; c-A; d-C

The issue of ballet dancers’ stage names came up when Peter Stamelman interviewed New Yorker dance critic Joan Acocella for a 2017 column in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Acocella said that dancers often changed their names because of “exoticism and a belief that ballet was by definition Russian or French.” Lilian Alicia Marks, for example, Russianized her name to become Alicia Markova. Jewish dancers, such as Kent, Hayden, and Nora Kaye (birth name: Nora Koreff) changed their names to assimilate into American culture, or for ease of pronunciation. (In this way, Balanchivadze became Balanchine, and Rabinowitz became Robbins.) It wasn’t just female dancers looking to add to their cachet by adopting marquee-ready names according to Stamelman, Joseph Jacques Ahearn became Jacques d’Amboise, William Cook became Antony Tudor, and Sydney Francis Patrick Chippendall Healy-Kay dumped that mouthful of a name in favor of the short and sweet Anton Dolin.

5 This year marks the 30th anniversary of Dirty Dancing, the beloved movie about a teenage girl who learns to love (and do a mean mambo) at a fading Catskills resort during the summer of ’63. Unfortunately, during this year’s celebration, fans won’t be able to recreate one of the movie’s most iconic scenes—when Baby (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny (Patrick Swayze) practice an overhead lift—in Virginia’s Mountain Lake, where the scene was filmed. Why not?


a. Swimming is prohibited due to a toxic waste spill.
b. Grey, who now owns the property, prohibits visitors.
c. The lake is a designated historical site.
d. The lake has gone dry.

Answer
d. The lake has gone dry.

In a May 2017 story in the New York Times, writer Neil Genzlinger researched what he called the “great Dirty Dancing lake war”—the controversy over where exactly the famed Grey-Swayze lift was filmed. Was it at Virginia’s Mountain Lake Lodge, a property that included the large stone resort that appears in the movie’s exterior shots, or at North Carolina’s Lake Lure, where an assortment of cabins and other buildings filled in for other scenes? Both lakes have proponents who claim their lake is the real deal. After chatting with the film’s production designer, David Chapman (who referenced his original storyboards), Genzlinger determined that the lift scene was definitely filmed at Mountain Lake. But in a rare geological phenomenon, Genzlinger tells readers, Mountain Lake periodically drains itself as a “purifying exercise, eventually refilling naturally.” It went dry in 2008, with no sign of the water returning anytime soon. Ardent fans will have to practice their lifts in Lake Lure for a little longer.

For more information:
6 Who was the first professional dancer to perform at the White House?


a. Martha Graham
b. Loie Fuller
c. Martha Hill
d. Doris Humphrey

Answer
a. Martha Graham

Martha Graham performed at the White House on February 26, 1937. Her appearance was more than casual entertainment, though. As Camelia Lenart explains in a European Journal of American Studies essay, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt believed in the “soft power” of the arts to comment on and impact politics and decision-making at the highest levels of government. Roosevelt’s invitation to Graham was “a conscientious decision to use the arts in the service of politics and diplomacy,” Lenart writes. At the time, the United States was debating whether it should get involved in the growing European struggle that became World War II. Graham’s art and persona were all-American: a descendant of Myles Standish (the military leader who accompanied the Pilgrims during their voyage on the Mayflower), the modern dancer’s repertory at the time included American Provincials, Frontier, American Lyric, and Chronicle (and, in 1938, American Document). Then and for years afterwards, Graham took her role as cultural diplomat seriously. State Department performance tours during the Cold War took Graham and her company to Europe and behind the Iron Curtain; in 1976 she was awarded the U.S.’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

For more information:
“A Trustworthy Collaboration: Eleanor Roosevelt and Martha Graham’s Pioneering of American Cultural Diplomacy,” European Journal of American Studies, by Camelia Lenart

History: Martha Graham Dance Company

7 Fashion designer Bradon McDonald, a former member of the Mark Morris Dance Group, is the go-to costumer for choreographer Jessica Lang. Many, though, know McDonald best from his appearance on what popular reality TV show?


a. Survivor
b. So You Think You Can Dance
c. Project Runway
d. Shark Tank

Answer
c. Project Runway

Jessica Lang and Bradon McDonald first met when both were studying dance at The Juilliard School in the 1990s, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. At Juilliard, McDonald also met Josh Winograde—to whom he would memorably propose on air after winning a challenge on Season 12 of Project Runway. (McDonald came in fourth during that season, which aired in 2013.) Long interested in the fine arts, McDonald started sewing seriously after Winograde’s gift of a sewing machine in 1996. After a 30-year dance career that included stints with the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Limón Dance Company, McDonald earned a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles.

8 Two TV show judges got their start as part of the Fly Girls hip-hop dance crew on the irreverent sketch comedy show In Living Color. One is World of Dance creator/judge and megastar Jennifer Lopez. Who is the other?


a. Carrie Ann Inaba
b. Julianne Hough
c. Melanie “Mel B” Brown
d. Gwen Stefani

Answer
a. Carrie Ann Inaba

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Carrie Ann Inaba studied hula and other dance forms before winning Hawaii’s statewide “Search for Talent” competition at age 16, when she and a friend performed a self-choreographed duo. The rising star’s first career, though, was as a singer in Japan, where she released three singles while studying at a Jesuit university in Tokyo. After she relocated to California, a producer “discovered” her in a dance class at the Debbie Reynolds Studios and suggested her to a choreographer who was looking for dancers for a music video shoot. After her Fly Girl gig with In Living Color, she went on to perform with Madonna, Ricky Martin, and David Copperfield; in movies such as Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me; and on TV award shows such as the MTV Video Music Awards. She has served on the judging panel of Dancing With the Stars since the show’s inception in 2005. (Information courtesy IMDb.)