Influential Dancers

Have you wondered about the meaning behind our studio names? Each of our four dance rooms are named after famous dancers that made an impact in the world of dance. KEEP READING to learn more about these amazing dancers and why they are so great!

 

Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland endured a difficult home life as she dealt with verbal and physical abuse from her mom’s fourth husband. However, she didn’t let this keep her down! Copeland would perform dance routines at home to the songs of another icon, Mariah Carey, and eventually was chosen to be the captain of her drill team at her middle school. The teacher who ran the team thought Copeland should take ballet classes at the Boys and Girls Club she already attended. Copeland eventually did so under the tutelage of Cynthia “Cindy” Bradley, who realized that the youngster was a prodigy, able to see and perform choreographed movement immediately and dance en pointe after a very short period of ballet training. As her home life continued to spiral, her mom ultimately decided to allow the 13-year-old dancer to move in with her teacher’s family. Copeland was thus able to continue her training while also entering the public spotlight as a promising up-and-coming performer, featured at special performances such as a charity event with actress Angela Bassett. Around this time Copeland also had a lead role in the Debbie Allen production The Chocolate Nutcracker. Copeland continued on to join the studio company of American Ballet Theatre in 2000, becoming a soloist several years later and starring in an array of productions such as The Nutcracker and Firebird. An icon whose star shines beyond the world of classical dance, in late June 2015 Copeland became the first African-American performer to be appointed as an ABT principal dancer in the company’s decades long history.

 

Bob Fosse
Bob Fosse is a choreographer and screenwriter known for his work on “Cabaret” (1972), “All That Jazz” (1979) and “Lenny” (1974). In most of his choreographed sequences, you will see him or his proteges wearing a hat or gloves. Fosse received three Emmy Awards in 1973 for Producing, Directing and Choreographing the television special “Liza with a Z” (1972) starring Liza Minnelli. He has also received an Academy Award for “Cabaret” and a Tony Award for “Pippin” making him the only director to win all three major industry prizes in a single year.

 

Martha Graham
As a child, Martha Graham was influenced by her father, a doctor who used physical movement to remedy nervous disorders. Throughout her teens, Graham studied dance in Los Angeles at Denishawn. Graham left Denishawn in 1923 to take a job with the Greenwich Village Follies. Two years later, she left the Follies to broaden her career. She took teaching positions at the Eastman School of Music and Theater in Rochester, New York, and the John Murray Anderson School in New York City to support herself. In 1926, she established her own dance company in New York City and developed an innovative, non-traditional technique that spoke to more taboo forms of movement and emotional expression. She danced well into her 70s and choreographed until her death in 1991, leaving the dance world forever changed.

 

Gregory Hines
Gregory Hines was an American tap dancer, actor, and choreographer who was a major figure in the revitalization of tap dancing in the late 20th century. When Hines was six, he and his older brother performed at the Apollo Theater in New York and 2 years later made his debut on Broadway. He has performed in The Girls in Pink Tights (1954), Eubie!, Comin’ Uptown (1979), and Sophisticated Ladies (1981). Hines received a Tony Award nomination, as well as other nominations for his performances. He later performed the role of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson in the television film Bojangles (2001).

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