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Musical Theatre: Busby Berkeley, Fred Astaire, Bob Fosse and Jack Cole

Year 10

Bob Fosse


American dancer, choreographer for the musical stage and screen, writer, and director Bob Fosse (b. Chicago, IL, 23 June 1927; d. Washington, DC, 23 September 1987) was perhaps the most influential figure in the field of jazz dance in the twentieth century.

Fosse was an American actor, dancer, musical theatre choreographer, director, screenwriter, film editor and film director.

Jack Cole

Jack Cole’s most widely known credential was his innovation in and codification of American jazz dance. Starting in the 1930s, with heavy borrowings from African American popular dance, he crafted jazz for his nightclub act and then transferred it first to the screen, and later to the Broadway stage.

Jack Cole, one of the greatest yet least known jazz choreographers is thought of by some as the father of theatrical jazz dance, responsible for the jazz we know today.


Sometimes you just want to watch Fred Astaire dance on screen. For this list we're looking at Astaire's most impressive footwork that still blows us away to this day. We're basing our picks on a mix of fun choreography, clever camera work and the over-the-top energy that makes all of Fred's moves a joy to watch!

The magic kaleidoscopic dance performances of BUSBY BERKELEY. First was choreographer and then, movie director. "Footlight Parade" (1933).

The Frug (pronounced "froog") was a dance craze from the 1960s that evolved from another dance of the era, the Chicken. The Chicken, which featured lateral body movements, was used primarily as a change of pace step while doing the Twist. As young dancers grew more tired they would do less work, moving only their hips while standing in place. They then started making up arm movements for the dance, which prompted the birth of the Swim, the Monkey, the Dog, the Watusi, the Mashed Potato, and the Jerk. The Frug is sometimes referred to as the Surf, Big Bea, and the Thunderbird.

Before meeting Bob Fosse, Gwen Verdon has been the muse and collaborator for another legendary choreographer, Jack Cole. In On the riviera finale (1951), Happy Ending with Danny Kaye, Jack Cole who choreographed the movie with Verdon as main dancer, makes a cameo performing. A rare moment in which is possible to see them dancing together onscreen in an ensemble number.

Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire, born Frederick Austerlitz II in 1899, began show business at the age of four, performing on Broadway and in Vaudeville with his older sister, Adele. As a young adult, he headed to Hollywood where he began a successful partnership with Ginger Rogers for nine movies.

(1899–1987). Highly popular for his graceful, seemingly effortless dancing and innovative choreography, American dancer Fred Astaire starred in numerous Broadway musicals and motion pictures. 

Busby Berkeley

A beginner‘s path through the kaleidoscopic choreography of Busby Berkeley.

Busby Berkeley, born November 29 1895 (died March 14 1976) was a highly influential Hollywood director and musical choreographer, famous for his elaborate musical production numbers that involved complex choreography through geometric patterns.