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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Quotable Bob Fosse

The Quotable Bob Fosse

Winner of nine Tony Awards for choreography and direction Bob Fosse (born this day in 1927) also won an Emmy (for Liza with a 'Z'), an Oscar (for Cabaret), a Palme d'Or (for All That Jazz - based on his turbulent life) and a Laurence Olivier Award amongst many other accolades and tributes. He has even had awards named after him - the Fosse Awards, now renamed the American Choreography Awards is just one example of the heights to which this legendary choreographer, director, producer, screenwriter and dancer soared.

Although he made his mark on the big screen, Fosse will be best remembered for his theatre work. His name is linked to such showstopping shows as: Pal Joey, The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Redhead, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Sweet Charity, Pippin, Chicago, Dancin' and Big Deal.

To celebrate one of the great dance talents of the twentieth century, here is a selection of quotations by and about Bob Fosse (who died of a heart attack in 1987) ...

Quotes by Bob Fosse ...

"I thank God that I wasn't born perfect."

"I think Balanchine and Robbins talk to God and when I call, he’s out to lunch."

"Directors are never in short supply of girlfriends."

"Don't dance for the audience; dance for yourself."

"The time to sing is when your emotional level is too high to just speak anymore, and the time to dance is when your emotions are just too strong to only sing about how you feel."

Quotations about Bob Fosse ...

Cabaret (1972) - "Superbly choreographed by Bob Fosse, the cabaret numbers evoke Berlin of 1931 so vividly that only an idiot could fail to perceive that something is rotten in the state of Weimar."
Tom Milne in The Time Out Film Guide

"Bob Fosse likes tall girls with no shape. You don’t have to be a good dancer … you have to be double-jointed."
Valerie Peters (1977)

"Fosse, a dancer, a singer, a choreographer, knew musicals the way a child is supposed to remember mother’s milk."
Richard Fuller in Cincinnati magazine (1979)

All That Jazz - "An uproarious display of brilliance, nerve, dance, maudlin confessions, inside jokes and, especially, ego … as if Bob Fosse had invited us to attend his funeral … after all, funerals are only wasted on the dead."
Vincent Canby in The New York Times (1979)

"Dancing Fosse is like dancing with whiskey in your belly. Most girls dance like they’ve got Diet Coke in their belly."
Shirley MacLaine

"He crammed his dances full of sexual imagery so harsh and loveless that you can’t help wondering what made him so successful a womanizer."
Terry Teachout in Time magazine (1999)

Fosse the Musical - "Fosse, with a capital ‘F’, means one of Broadway’s supreme choreographers. With a lower-case ‘f’, it is a castle moat or a long and narrow ditch. The contrivers of the show Fosse have usurped that capital ‘F’ for their lowercase venture. This long and narrow spectacle that came to praise Bob Fosse is more likely to bury him."
John Simon in New York magazine (1999)

"His Expressionist-slink dance style has turned up everywhere but the Christian Broadcasting Network."
Elvis Mitchell in The New York Times (2002)

Director: "We open in a week, people! The set isn’t finished. Mother Abbess just quit because she has shingles. And, every step-ball change would make Bob Fosse rise from the grave just so he could have a heart attack again!"
in The Pacifier (2005)

Reviewing the movie 'Ninja Assassin' - "It’s like Bob Fosse night at the martial-arts studio. Most of the killing here is done with bladed throwing stars that, like the ninjas themselves, arrive from nowhere. They appear to have been used to edit the film as well."
Wesley Morris in The Boston Globe (2009)

On the inspiration for Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' video - "Although I wanted the video to feel like it was one continuous take, on the shoot day we decided to split the song into three parts. I deliberately let the shots be long so viewers would connect with the human endeavor of Beyoncé's awe-inspiring dance, which was inspired by an old-school Bob Fosse routine."
Jake Nava (2009)

Quotes taken from
The Quotable Dancer
(1300 Humorous Dance Quotations from Stage and Screen)
published by Blue Eyed Books

For more great quotations, inspirational thoughts and famous sayings, go to A2Z of Quotes
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