Remembering Marvin Hamlisch

August 6, 2012

Mr. Hamlisch passed away this morning after a brief illness. He was one of only 11 people to win an Oscar, Tony, Grammy, and Emmy. For a dancer, Marvin Hamlisch is probably most admired for being the composer of A Chorus Line. Though the theatre claims him for works like The Goodbye Girl and The Sweet Smell of Success: The Musical, he actually did much more work for film. If you’ve seen the Sting, Ice Castles, Sophie’s Choice, or just have ever seen a movie in general, you probably can hum some of his tunes.


A lot of Broadway dancers have strong feelings for A Chorus Line (I know this from the outpouring of appreciation of it on Facebook this morning). Dancers know that they have a finite career. If age doesn’t get you, injuries might. Or maybe you’ll burn out or just can’t cut it after a certain point. Is it worth the struggle? Absolutely. The song “What I did For Love” from the musical gets it right. Maybe the lyrics are about romantic love, but I think they’re about dance. It’s a gift. Take care of your technique, treasure it. Dance with your whole spirit. It won’t last forever.

“Look my eyes are dry.
The gift was ours to borrow.

It’s as if we always knew,

And I won’t forget what I did for love,

What I did for love.”

– Lyrics from What I Did for Love, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban