Fun facts for teachers and students.
1 George Balanchine preferred his ballerinas sleek, cool, and American-trained, yet one New York City Ballet principal was known for her solid Old World technique, theatrical flair, and a habit of “flavoring” her steps. Describing her presence in the company, she said, “I was more of a French poodle than a borzoi (Russian wolfhound).” Who was she?
a. Violette Verdy
b. Alexandra Danilova
c. Leslie Caron
d. Aurélie Dupont
2 The famous poster image of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer Judith Jamison in a long-sleeved plain white leotard and white ruffled skirt captures a moment from her solo Cry, which was created by Ailey to mark what special occasion?
a. Jamison’s five-year anniversary in the company.
b. The company’s first performance at Carnegie Hall.
c. Ailey’s mother’s birthday.
d. A visit by Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks.
3 Yvonne Chouteau, who died in January at the age of 86, was one of five Native American ballerinas from Oklahoma who rose to fame during the 1940s (along with Moscelyne Larkin, Rosella Hightower, Marjorie Tallchief, and Maria Tallchief). A name was coined to represent all five. What was it?
a. The Sooner State Primas.
b. Sun, Star, Wind, Water, and Hope.
c. The Dance-Catchers.
d. The Five Moons.
4 MGM musical star Eleanor Powell is considered one of the greatest tap dancers to appear on film. What unusual teaching method did her instructor, Jack Donohue, employ to force her to tap close to the floor (unlike the uplifted, bouncy style favored by most female dancers of the day)?
a. He had her train while balancing several books on her head.
b. He sent her for modern dance training.
c. He had weighted shoes especially made for her.
d. He hung sandbags on a belt around her waist.
5 Keith Thibodeaux co-founded the Christian ballet company Ballet Magnificat! with his wife, Kathy Denton, in 1986 in Jackson, Mississippi. Years earlier as a youth, Thibodeaux—working under the stage name Richard Keith—appeared on what hugely popular TV series?
a. The Munsters (as Eddie Munster).
b. Leave It to Beaver (as Larry Mondello).
c. I Love Lucy (as Little Ricky).
d. My Three Sons (as Ernie Douglas).
a. A well-known archway that blends classical and modern architectural elements.
b. In legend, where souls pass on the way to heaven.
c. The oldest known Chinese dance.
d. A mountain in China known for its mystical presence.
7 Vaudeville tap dancer John W. “Bubbles” Sublett was specifically chosen by George Gershwin to originate the role of Sportin’ Life in the 1935 Broadway production of Porgy and Bess. Which other great tap dancer(s) also appeared in the role?
a. Sammy Davis Jr.
b. Derick K. Grant
c. Gregory Hines
d. Howard “Sandman” Sims