Sutton Foster in "Bunheads"—Shades of Heather Watts???
The new TV show Bunheads has something no other dance show has: Sutton Foster. The frustrating thing is that she doesn’t dance much, she doesn’t tap at all (she’s a fabulous tapper—see our cover story), and she doesn’t sing (she has a fabulous voice too). But she is an incredible actor, and it’s worth slogging through the ridiculous plotline to see her play her sarcastic-but-loving character Michelle to the hilt.
Here’s a surprise: Amy Sherman-Palladino, who conceived and wrote the show, said in a Vulture interview that she based Michelle on Heather Watts. A showgirl based on a ballerina? Apparently Sherman-Palladino studied at the same school as Heather. But whether that was the School of American Ballet or her school back in Chatsworth, California is unclear. (Anyone have a guess? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
If you happen to have the February 1980 issue of Dance Magazine, read the terrific cover story on Heather Watts. I only saw her dance once, in Balanchine’s Bugaku, and can attest to her being as fascinating onstage as John Gruen describes in this story. I salute the Bunheads writer for trying to imagine what a live-wire character like Heather Watts would have done if she hadn’t re-committed herself to ballet. But I wonder if Sherman-Palladino knows that Heather is now teaching dance at Harvard and just earned an honorary degree at Hunter.
And if their school in common was in Chatsworth, does that mean that the character played by Kelly Bishop is based on their teacher, Sheila Rozann? Maybe so. Bishop was the orignal Sheila in A Chorus Line and now she’s another brassy Sheila in Bunheads.
According to the Vulture interview, Sherman-Palladino was a committed dancer until she started getting more gigs as a TV writer than a dancer. I am hoping there will be more dancing in future Bunheads episodes. —Wendy Perron
Essential oils sometimes get a bad rap.Between the aggressive social media marketing for the products and the sometimes magical-sounding claims about their healing properties, it's easy to forget what they can actually do.But if you look beyond the pyramid schemes and exaggerations, experts believe they have legit benefits to offer both mind and body.
How can dancers take advantage of their medicinal properties? We asked Amy Galper, certified aromatherapist and co-founder of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies:
Karen Azenberg, a past president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, stumbled on something peculiar before the union's 2015 move to new offices: a 52-year-old sealed envelope with a handwritten note attached. It was from Agnes de Mille, the groundbreaking choreographer of Oklahoma! and Rodeo. De Mille, a founding member of SDC, had sealed the envelope with gold wax before mailing it to the union and asking, in a separate note, that it not be opened. The reason? "It is the outline for a play, and I have no means of copyrighting…The material is eminently stealable."