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Jazz DanceA History of the Roots and Branches$
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Lindsay Guarino and Wendy Oliver

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049298

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049298.001.0001

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Jack Cole and Theatrical Jazz Dance

Jack Cole and Theatrical Jazz Dance

(p.82) 11 Jack Cole and Theatrical Jazz Dance
Jazz Dance

Teal Darkenwald

University Press of Florida

Jack Cole is credited as the father of theatrical jazz dance. His career spanned from the 1920s through the 1950s and he developed a specific method of training theatrical jazz dancers in a style which he called “jazz-ethnic-ballet”. Cole provided daily “urban folk dance” classes at Columbia Pictures for a four year period, which prepared his dancers for his rigorous choreography and allowed Cole to develop his distinct teaching style. Additional well-known contributions include choreography for nightclubs, Broadway musicals, and film and television. Cole directly influenced many dance artists including his muse Gwen Verdon and jazz legends such as Bob Fosse and Matt Mattox. Cole choreographed some of the most memorable scenes of 20th century cinema, including the infamous scene in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn Monroe singing “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

Keywords:   Broadway, Bob Fosse, Columbia Pictures, Father of theatrical jazz dance, Jack Cole, Jazz-ethnic-ballet, Marilyn Monroe, Matt Mattox, Urban folk dance

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