Category Archives: New York City

Top 5 Musical Theater Dance Performances

Broadway sign

Photo by Kim Roberts

I don’t know about you, but I think there’s nothing better than a night of musical theater. Downtown Pittsburgh has the privilege of being a stop for many of the Broadway national tours, so I’ve had the opportunity to see plenty of incredible shows in the past few years. (By the way, if you are a college student, I strongly advise you to take advantage of student discount tickets! Definitely worth it!)

The great thing about musical theater is that it has everything you could ask for in a live performance. The actors and actresses in these productions are amazing triple-threats who can sing, dance and act like no other. It is an honor just to be in the same building as these people and hear their voices — which is often all I can do from the very last row of the second balcony. (I assume that these people have faces and are, in fact, using appropriate facial expressions throughout the show, but I can’t be sure from where I typically sit!)

Dance in musical theater is so important because it is not only entertaining and fun to watch, but it is done with song, and it furthers the plot. These huge dance numbers have to help tell an understandable story while still being technically strong and visually appealing — no simple task!

So here is a list of what I think are the top 5 dance numbers in musical theater. Please feel free to comment and tell me what you would add to the list!

5: “42nd Street” from 42nd Street

This number is all about tap, tap, tap! 42nd Street is a true classic Broadway with plenty of tap dancing. Seeing huge groups of people dance together is so powerful and enjoyable to watch. Check out this special video of the musical’s opening number below.

4: “Dancing Through Life” from Wicked

The song title says it all. This seven-minute musical number from one of the biggest and most successful Broadway shows of the decade tells a story through song and dance. The Oz-inspired choreography has a mix of jazz, modern, and ballroom elements. Check it out a clip from this dance number below!

3: “My Strongest Suit” from Aida

This sassy song and dance number is all about girl power. Nonstop singing and dancing fills the stage with dresses galore. Songs like this are what make musical theater so great because they make you want to get up and join in. The lyrics and dance moves throughout this piece are entertaining and fun to watch, plus it is a perfect example of character development while furthering the plot. Because. after all, “I would rather wear a barrel than conservative apparel, for a dress has always been my strongest suit!” Take a look at the beginning of this song below!

2: “Anything Goes” from Anything Goes

Anything Goes clearly features tap dancing in this number, and all you have to do is sit back and listen to those taps perfectly in sync. Great big dance numbers are so much fun to watch, and this is a great example of tap’s precision at its finest. Check out the number at the 2011 Tony Awards below.

1: “Step in Time” from Mary Poppins

Speaking of incredible tap numbers, who could forget this classic from Mary Poppins? These chimney sweeps can do some pretty amazing things! This number take dance and makes it fit the characters and tell a story. Mary Poppins herself adds some color to the piece as well. Seeing this number live is truly amazing. It’ll give you goosebumps for sure! Take a look at the video below!

All of these dance numbers from famous Broadway musicals are incredible, and there are many, many more out there! What’s your favorite dance number from a musical? If you have the opportunity to see any of these shows live — do it! It’s a decision you won’t regret.

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New York City Ballet, a world-class company

The New York City Ballet is at the top of the list of the world’s esteemed ballet companies. Here is a brief profile of the company, including its history and current information, plus some photos and videos from the company.

History

Lincoln Center

Photo from Wikipedia Commons

The idea for the company came from Lincoln Kirstein, who wanted to start a ballet company in the United States that was self-contained, meaning it would train its own dancers through a ballet school and have its dancers perform original works created specifically for them. Together with famed ballet choreographer George Balanchine, Kirstein made his dream a reality when he started a new company in 1933.The company faced great challenges in its beginning years, but it was able to withstand even the struggles that came along with World War II. Esteemed choreographer Jerome Robbins got on board as well, and the New York City Ballet company flourished. It performed in what is now the David H. Koch Theater that opened in April of 1964, and the company has been based there ever since. A unique feature of the New York City Ballet is that it also has a summer home. Every year, the company performs in Saratoga, New York, at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. In addition, the company has made many trips around the world to perform at various venues in countries such as Russia, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. For more details about New York City Ballet’s rich history, check out the company’s website.

Today

New York City Ballet is the largest ballet company in the United States, with about 90 dancers. Choreographers George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins contributed to the 150 works choreographed just for the New York City Ballet dancers since the company’s start. The official ballet school of the company is the School of American Ballet in Lincoln Center, which consists of about 350 aspiring ballerinas who study under the watch of the company’s directors and ballet masters. This school feeds directly into the company.

Performances

New York City Ballet is a company like no other. In fact, the company performs more ballets in a single year than any other company in the world. The 2012-2013 season, for example, includes more than 75 works. For a full list, check out the company’s season repertory.

Videos

Check out these great videos that give insight into what happens in a professional ballet company, plus some examples of these dancers’ incredible skill and technique!

Video #1: This video shows what goes on behind the scenes in a renowned ballet company like New York City Ballet.

Video #2: Here is a fun look into a ballerina’s most treasured possession: her pointe shoes.

Video #3: Now take a look at New York City Ballet’s “Serenade,” choreographed by George Balanchine.