For three consecutive Monday afternoons, Carolina Meadows resident Katherine Moss kept our imaginations “dancing” with her presentations on Dance in American Musical Theater. For this series of Carolina Meadows University programs, she guided us through a carefully selected set of film clips illustrating styles of dance on the American stage ranging from minstrel shows, to vaudeville, to Broadway musicals.
From film archives came performances such as Bob Hope and James Cagney doing a synchronized tap dance, as well as early examples of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Eleanor Powell, Ray Bolger, Ethel Merman, Marilyn Miller, Bo Jangles Robinson and many others. Agnes De Mille’s wonderful Dream Ballet from “Oklahoma” illustrated another step in the evolution of dance in musical theater.
Dance film clips included scenes from “West Side Story,” “Chicago,” “42nd Street,” “Chorus Line,” “Cats,” “Jelly’s Last Jam,” and even “Bring In ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk.” They brought back great memories for many Carolina Meadows residents. Katherine, a performing musician herself, brought a wealth of experience and research to each program. Her comments, and the reflections she invited during the audience discussions that followed, made the series one to remember.