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Archive for Women of Ballroom Dance

Women In Dance: Ginger Rogers

Ginger Rogers

Ballroom Dancer Ginger Rogers

Ginger Rogers was born July 16, 1911 in Independence, MO. She began her dancing career in vaudeville and made her Broadway debut in 1929 in Top Speed. After starring in George Gershwin’s Girl Crazy (1930–31), she went to Hollywood and began performing in movies, typecast as a flippant blonde.

Her first performance with Fred Astaire (pictured) occurred in Flying Down to Rio (1933), which was so popular that they continued the partnership in nine other films. Though best known for her dancing, Rogers preferred dramatic acting and in 1940 won an Academy Award for her leading role in Kitty Foyle. She also enjoyed a sure hand in light comedy and starred in such films as Tom, Dick and Harry (1941) and The Major and the Minor (1942). Rogers returned to the Broadway stage in 1965 when she took over the role of Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly and followed that in 1969 with a star performance as Mame in London.

Source: Biography.com

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Women In Dance: Marge Champion

Marge Champion

Women Today Expo Knoxville Marge Champion

 Marge and Gower Champion have been referred to as the Vernon and Irene Castle of the 1950s. They were an immensely popular husband-and-wife dance team, creating some of the most memorable dance scenes in movie musicals of the 1950s. Their dance numbers were not only visually stunning, but they were ground-breaking for telling a story that fit into the plot of the film.

Marge Champion was born Marjorie Celeste Belcher in Los Angeles, California on September 2, 1923. Her father, Ernest Belcher, was a master ballet teacher, working with many of the top Hollywood stars of the day. Needless to say, Marge began learning dance at a very tender age, and by the time she was in her teens, she was teaching students of her own age group. She modeled for Disney for Snow White, Fantasia and Pinocchio, and found some small parts in films during the late 1930s and early ’40s. Marge found better parts on stage, and was on Broadway in the early ’40s.

Gower Champion was born in Geneva, Illinois on June 22, 1921. His parents divorced, and Gower and his mother moved to Los Angeles. He and his high-school dance partner, Jeanne Tyler, won a dance contest at the Coconut Grove which landed them a thirteen week engagement. From there they went on to New York, performing at the Waldorf-Astoria and Radio City Music Hall.

When Gower returned from war duty, he found Jeanne Tyler had given up dancing. Mr. Belcher (Marge’s father) suggested Gower might talk to Marge, and so he did. They formed a professional partnership, and were married on October 5, 1947. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Gower passed away in 1980. Marge now lives in New York and works as a dance teacher and choreographer.

Source: http://www.classicmoviemusicals.com/

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Women In Dance: Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds

Women of Ballroom Dance, Debbie Reynolds, Go Dance, Knoxville, Women's Expo

Reynolds was born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Texas, the second child of Maxine N. (née Harmon; 1913–1999) and Raymond Francis Reynolds (1903–1986), who was a carpenter for the Southern Pacific Railroad.[1][2] She has Scotch-Irish and English ancestry.[3] Reynolds was a Girl Scout and a troop leader (a scholarship in her name is offered to high-school age Girl Scouts). Her family moved to Burbank, California, in 1939, and she was raised in a strict Nazarene faith. At age 16, while a student at Burbank’s John Burroughs High School, Reynolds won the Miss Burbank Beauty Contest, a contract with Warner Bros., and acquired a new first name.

Debbie Reynolds’ film career began at MGM after she won a beauty contest at age 16 impersonating Betty Hutton. Most of her film work has been in MGM musicals, as perky, wholesome young women.

Debbie Reynolds wasn’t a dancer until she was selected to be Gene Kelly’s partner in Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Not yet twenty, she was a quick study. Twelve years later, it seemed like she had been around forever. She was only 31 when she gave an Academy Award nominated performance in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). She survived losing first husband Eddie Fisher to Elizabeth Taylor following the tragic death of Michael Todd. Her second husband, shoe magnate Harry Karl, gambled away his fortune as well as hers.

Reynolds continues to make appearances in film and television. 

Source: Wikipedia.com and IMDb.com

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Women In Dance: Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough Women in Dance Profile Women Today Expo Go Dance Knoxville

With her perfect looks and dazzling dance-floor moves, Hough became America’s spinning sweetheart when she joined—and ultimately won—Dancing With the Stars. An aspiring entertainer from an early age, Hough left her Utah home at age 10 to study at London’s Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts. Her efforts paid off when she became the first U.S.-born dancer to be crowned International Latin Youth Champion and Junior Blackpool World Latin Champion. Although she returned to Utah to finish high school, after graduation she headed to Los Angeles and quickly booked a gig as a sexy dancer on the short-lived game show “Show Me the Money.” From there, she joined the Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) tour as a company dancer. In a 42nd Street-like twist, when lead dancer Kym Johnson injured herself, Hough replaced her, twirling across the country with Season 1 Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) contestant Joey MacIntyre. Her impressive work led to her addition to Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) proper. She was paired with Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno in Season 4 and race-car driver Helio Castraneves in Season 5, winning back-to-back mirror-ball trophies. Proving that she’s more than just a hoofer, Hough released her first country-music album in May 2008. She quickly followed up with a 2008 holiday album and also performed in Brad Paisley’s 2008 tour.

Julianne Hough Fast Facts:

– Grew up in Utah with four brothers and sisters.

– Lived in London for five years, from age 10 to 15, to train with top dance teachers.

– Along with her brother Derek, was part of the kids band 2B1G, which stood for “two boys, one girl.”

– Assisted in choreographing Gwen Stefani’s video for “Wind It Up.”

– In February 2007, after her plane overran the runway upon landing in snowy conditions, Hough shared her cell-phone photos in an interview with a Cleveland news station. The reason for her trip: her first meeting with her Dancing With the Stars partner, Apolo Anton Ohno.

– Released her first country-music album in May 2008.

Source: IMDb.com

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Women in Dance: Jane Powell

Jane Powell

Women in Dance, Jane Powell, Women Today, Go Dance, Knoxville, News Sentinel

Jane Powell was singing and dancing at an early age. She sang on the radio and performed in theaters before her screen debut in 1944. Through the 1940s and 1950s, she had a successful career in movie musicals. However, in 1957, her career in films ended, as she had outgrown her innocent girl-next-door image. She has made brief returns to acting in front of the camera — on television, in commercials, and in a workout video. She has had a variety of roles on stage since the end of her movie career, including the musicals “South Pacific,” “The Sound of Music,” “Oklahoma!,” “My Fair Lady,” “Carousel,” and a one-woman show “The Girl Next Door and How She Grew,” from which she took the title of her 1988 autobiography.

 Source: IMDb.com

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