Friday, October 20, 2006

Further Fosse

In the comments on my Fosse post, "jim" makes a good point:

The big problem I have with Fosse is that he never seems to develop anything from the personalities of his dancers. They all tend to end up looking like a line of little Fosses.

That sort of re-enforces the comparison to Busby Berkeley, who also didn't let his dancers show much individuality. And in the '50s, when musicals had to be much more re-castable than they once were -- they were expected to run longer and go on more international tours -- it didn't suit a musical to highlight the personalities of individual dancers too much, which may be why somewhat regimented choreographer/directors, like Fosse and Gower Champion, started to emerge as major players: they created dance moves that could be re-created with any cast.

Still, I think that there are exceptions; Suzanne Charney certainly stands out in the "Rich Man's Frug" number (though as so often with Fosse, there's an undercurrent of contempt in this spectacular number: it's a deliberate satire of '60s dance and fashion styles and he's sort of spoofing the musical/dance tastes of his own audience).

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