Dance in Pop Culture

#tbt: Kevin Bacon Did Not Know What He Was Getting Himself Into With Footloose

Photo courtesy DM Archives

In the March 1984 issue of Dance Magazine, we went behind the scenes of Footloose. The film follows Ren, a teenager from Chicago who finds himself in a small town where dancing is banned.


Lori Singer, Kevin Bacon and director Herbert Ross on the set of FootlooseCourtesy DM Archives

Choreographer-turned-director Herbert Ross described his latest Hollywood venture as "a kind of Off-Broadway film: It relates strongly to dancing and...it uses dance as a metaphor for personal liberty and freedom." That theme comes to the fore when Ren expresses his anger and frustration through an athletic, dramatic solo—but Kevin Bacon didn't quite know what he was getting himself into when he first auditioned for the film.

Courtesy DM Archives

"I knew Herb Ross was a choreographer and came from a dance background," Bacon told us, "but if you read the script all it actually says is that we go to a dance. It says nothing at all about choreography. All it says about what turns out to be my big solo number is that Ren...drives along, parks his car, gets out, and dances. Little did I know..."

Dance on Broadway
Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown

If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.

Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.

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Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.

So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?

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Simon Soong, Courtesy DDT

When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.

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Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

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