Stephenie Lawton toured with several Broadway shows and danced in nightclub acts, movies, and on television. She assisted many top choreographers in LA and New York. She wrote for Dancer Magazine for several years, and taught at Steps on Broadway.
Many dancers would rather do just about anything than spend time on their finances. They procrastinate when it comes to recording their income and expenses, and put off investing for another day. As artists, we would rather be in the studio. But looking after your financial health can actually lead to more artistic freedom.
Kate Vanderliet grew up in Orinda, California, attending summer sessions at the San Francisco Ballet School. She was a principal dancer in Hello Hollywood, Hello! starring Carol Channing, at the MGM Grand Hotel in Reno, Nevada. She also played Val in A Chorus Line after the hotel had been bought by Bally's. She became a star at The Lido in Paris, and was known for her dazzling charisma on stage. Chic, petite, and sophisticated, she commanded attention and respect.
As a performer. Lisa appeared on Broadway, in dinner theater, and throughout Europe. She was a triple threat, with a lovely soprano. Fellow dancers from the European company of 42nd Street knew her by her maiden name, Lisa Fairmont. They described her as vivacious, enthusiastic, passionate, and talented. With a dazzling smile, she was as loving as she was pretty. Her speaking voice was very distinctive. Just hearing her in conversation on the other side of stage made you smile and laugh. She was kind and compassionate to the younger dancers, and gave them excellent advice. Jon Engstrom, (who reset Gower Champion's original choreography in 42nd Street) told her during rehearsal, "You remind me of Sophia Loren." She was also a former Miss Colorado and Bronco cheerleader. She will be dearly missed by her friends and family.
Peter was deeply loved by his students, friends, and fellow dancers. He was known for his kindness, sensitivity, and generosity of spirit. Friends described him as caring and sweet. Several recalled that he always made time for conversation with them when they ran into him on the Upper West Side. He was very aware and sensitive to people's feelings. The daily life of a ballet dancer is extremely challenging and demanding. Peter demonstrated a deep empathy for his dancers.
Cheerful and optimistic, he enjoyed an impressive forty year association with the prestigious New York City Ballet. He studied at the School of American Ballet, and became a company member under the direction of George Balanchine. He was promoted to principal status. It was an exciting and productive time.
Vollmar as Myrthe in Giselle, San Francisco Ballet, 1947. Via Wikimedia Commons
Jocelyn Vollmar was born in San Francisco, California. Her mother was an actress in silent films, before the Hollywood movie studios were developed. In those days they filmed in Hayward, California. Jocelyn had an extensive and impressive career as a ballerina.
She grew up in the West Portal district of San Francisco. The homes there were tall, classic and impressive. They exuded quality, charm and character. She began dancing with San Francisco Ballet at the age of twelve, under the direction of William Christensen. She started out performing in small roles. At the age of seventeen, she joined the company. She was well known by locals for dancing the Snow Queen in their Nutcracker in 1944.
Embracing your strengths will lead to more success. Photo by Jim Lafferty
When it comes to auditioning, you have to think like a casting director. What is your type? How can you embrace it so that you can get cast in the roles that fit you best?
Getting hired is about more than just talent. Directors are looking at everything: from your height, to your energy, to understudy requirements—if you are a replacement in a Broadway show, for example, you have to be able to slot into it seamlessly. The creative team will size you up immediately when you walk into the studio, so make sure you're projecting the right message from the start.
Originally from Paris, Liliane Montevecchi danced for Roland Petit as a young ballet dancer. In the 1950's she signed with MGM studios. Her credits with them include Daddy Long Legs and King Creole (starring Elvis Presley.) In 1958 she performed in the Broadway musical revue La Plume de Ma Tante. She went on to star in the famous Les Folies Bergeres. She was spectacular in the show with her gorgeous body, Italian passion and French glamour.
Liliane was also an elegant, classy and dynamic actress. She looked like a cover girl, and possessed the lean, long physique of a ballerina her entire life. She was on a carefully planned schedule with her eating, always aware that she had to fit into those revealing costumes. When it came to wearing the designers' pieces, she was in a class of her own. Her mother designed for French royalty, and it showed. Liliane recalls in an interview that she never saw her mother look bad. She was raised to be conscious of the image she presented to the public, and it paid off in her extensive career.
Every dancer her their own limits. Photo by Ahmad Odeh/Unsplash
Last month, Yann Arnaud, an aerialist with Cirque de Soleil, died after plummeting to the stage in VOLTA. He was performing an aerial straps routine in Tampa, Florida, when one of his hands slipped and he fell 20 feet.
Professional dancers are often asked to perform stunts, some of them extremely dangerous. Even when the risks aren't life-threatening, it's important to listen to your gut.
Tune is still at home onstage. Photo by Franco Lacosta, courtesy Tune.
Tommy Tune is a man of many talents. The 10-time Tony Award–winning director, choreographer and star is famous for shows like Nine, My One and Only, The Will Roger's Follies and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
Tune is in a special class of gifted director/choreographers that includes George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Michael Bennett—yet he also danced and starred in his musicals.
Today, he is touring the country with his nightclub act Tommy Tune Tonight. At 79, he is still lithe, graceful and willowy, and looks right at home onstage.
So what's it like to be backstage with the legend? Tune recently invited Dance Magazine behind the scenes for a rehearsal and performance in Los Angeles.