This afternoon I was interviewed by film director Mark Wilkinson for his new documentary Jazz Tap America. We talked about many facets of tap history. He asked great questions and I had a great time, despite getting my tongue tied up now and again.
I was interviewed by BBC World Service Arts Correspondent Vincent Dowd on April 1, 2014. His article about tap dancing was spurred by a series of concerts to be given in the UK by Savion Glover. I was hooked up to London from the BBC studios in Los Angeles, and Mr. Dowd asked me questions about tap history. His article was published on the BBC website on April 3, 2104 and the audio portion was aired on BBC News Hour on April 6, 2014. The link to the article is;
I am currently directing two plays – The Rememberer by Steven Dietz and The American Clock by Arthur Miller .I have very talented actors and both plays will be presented for adjudicators on Thursday, December 19, 2013.
I had the pleasure of staging some simple dances for two recent Company productions at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts: The Glass Menagerie directed by Betty Karlen and Goodbye Freddy, directed by Carl Reggiardo. The third year students were wonderful to work with and it was exciting to see how much they’ve all grown since I had them two years ago in first year! A very talented group of actors. Congratulations to all the company members for their work this year!
My niece Canedy is visiting from New York City. She is in LA helping run LA-Xplore for the Actor’s Green Room and is staying with us for a few days.It’s always such a joy to see her and this time is even more wonderful because she is pregnant. Last night after dinner she put my hand on her belly and I felt the baby kick like a future Rockette!
Today is the Vintage Paper Fair in Glendale. I have been going to these events regularly for a few years. It was at these events that I found some of the illustrations for my book The Wicked Waltz. The postcard of the frogs doing the cakewalk is my latest purchase, adding to a set I already had of monkeys, donkeys and pigs doing the cakewalk from the same series.There are literally millions of postcards and other paper ephemera there and it remains one of my favorite events.
Today is Helene Phillips’ birthday. Helene and I were on scholarship at Dupree Dance Academy on 3rd Street when the studio was the center of professional dance in Los Angeles. We got on scholarship sometime around 1977 with a few other dancers, The schedule was grueling I think we were required to take at least 4 or 5 classes a day, as well as assist any teacher who asked. We spent all day there. I remember that after about a month of this, all of the other scholarship students had stopped coming to class because they were so exhausted. Helene and I were the only ones hanging in there. I can remember one afternoon when we were sprawled out on the floor of the lobby, totally sore and sweaty, consoling each other, our muscles like jelly, but determined to not give up. Roland Dupree eventually lowered the number of required classes and all of the scholarship students returned. But since that day, I’ve always had nothing but love and admiration for Helene. We were the two who didn’t give up.
The second year students at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts begin their semester today. I will be teaching four sections of Period Movement and Dance,. Can’t wait to get on campus and see all the returning students. I actually will have them in class beginning tomorrow, when we start with the Pavane.
The bluegrass musical, That Other Woman’s Child, which I co-produced with my brother Rex, and also choreographed for the New Musicals Festival in New York in 2008, is being mounted in a new production in Australia. The show is being done by the Regional Institute of Performing Arts at the Hunter campus of TAFE NSW in Newcastle CBD in West New South Wales. The show will open on December 18, 2013.
A former student of mine at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Chelsea Cooper, just sent me a message on Facebook with a picture quoting something I had said one day in class. I don’t remember saying it, but I do think it’s apropos for surviving in the business and being happy while doing it. Thanks Chelsea for reminding me of that!