Thursday, October 19, 2023

40 Years of Broadway: Creative Influencers: 21 Choreographers

 40 Years of Broadway:
Creative Influencers: 21 Choreographers

When crafting a new musical (and, increasingly, a new play), it is not just a director who guides and shapes a show, but it also depends on a choreographer to extend the emotional impact of the piece through dance and movement. One of the bigger things that has evolved over the past 40+ years is the integration of direction and choreography into a seamless whole. Think A Chorus Line, Cats and Grand Hotel as examples - where the staging ends and the dance begins is hardly recognizable. As a result, the director-choreographer hyphenate has become more prevalent.

Below is a list of those artists that had the biggest impact on my four decades of theater-going experience, and is not really complete. There are many others I could add, but I feel confident that these are a solid representation.

The Masters

These marvels of the dance world had careers well before I first stepped foot in a Broadway theater. Their careers represent now recognizable styles that were groundbreaking at the time, and continue to influence choreography today. They are, indeed, masters of the dance.

Michael Bennett        Graciela Daniele

Bob Fosse        Gillian Lynne        Tommy Tune

The Contemporary Choreographer

The 11 names on this part of the list represent those dance masters who came into their own and still contributed today to the ever-changing theatrical landscape, bringing up a new generation of dancers and future choreographers. After all, many of them started out as dancers themselves. Their diverse backgrounds have certainly impacted and broadened the definition of "Broadway" dancing.

Rob Ashford        Warren Carlyle

Wayne Cilento        Savion Glover        
Steven Hoggett

Bill T. Jones        Rob Marshall        
Jerry Mitchell

Casey Nicholaw        Susan Stroman        Sergio Trujillo

New Voices - New Moves

Finally, these are the current generation of choreographers who have already made a name for themselves. Their modern perspectives have expanded the vocabulary of Broadway dance. Inclusion of contemporary styles to musicals has allowed steps and styles once found only on the streets, in clubs and the pop concerts have brought a new urgency and thrilling edge to the stage. 

Andy Blankenbuehler        Christopher Gattelli

Spencer Liff        Sonya Tayeh        Jennifer Weber 

Contest Question #17:
All of the 2023 Tony Award nominees for Best Choreography made our list! Which one of them was nominated for two shows - & Juliet and KPOP?

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