Free Essay

A Personality and a Pioneer: Jack Cole's Influence on Modern Jazz

In: Other Topics

Submitted By lalala777
Words 651
Pages 3
A Personality and a Pioneer: Jack Cole’s Influence on Modern Jazz

Countless of women have marveled over Marilyn Monroe’s stunning performance of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The way she captivates the men around her while maintaining a dominant, sultry poise has made this an iconic scene in the history of American film. She comes across as a natural presence, dancing flawlessly and confidently. What most people do not know is that Marilyn was not trained in dance whatsoever before this debut. A man by the name of Jack Cole is responsible for her training and choreography during this legendary performance (Friscoe, September 10, 2013) Jack not only transformed Marilyn Monroe’s entire career, but reshaped theatrical performance in the film industry and modern jazz as a whole. In a post-­war period marked by radical transformation, American Jazz made a shift from the “danceable rhythms” of 1930s swing to the “dissonant harmonics and frenzied rhythmic shifts” of 1940s bebop. A federal tax wage was placed on dance floors, causing them to shut down and the big swing bands that performed in them to be eclipsed. As Vaudeville houses closed and swing bands faded, jazz in its traditional form of tap dancing on the popular stage diminished. This environment perfectly set the stage for Jack Cole to revolutionize Broadway and Hollywood musical film as the “Father of Modern Jazz Dance” (Valis Hill 2001).

Jack Cole’s unique blend of modern styling with ethnic roots was directly influenced by his professional dance training. He first studied modern dance at the Denishawn School in New York and then later with the Humphrey-­Weidman group. This traditional training cemented his strong sense of the architecture of choreography. What made Cole unique is that he sought out and mastered authentic forms of ethnic dance. He studied Afro-­Caribbean, Spanish, and South American dance forms. However, Cole’s personal style was most greatly influenced by the Indian dance form bharata natyam. Reflective of the Indian dance, Cole’s style became characterized by isolations, placements, quick directional changes, and long knee slides (Levine 2012). Interestingly enough, Cole took his ethnically influenced technical style to night clubs. Even though performing and choreographing routines in night clubs caused Cole ridicule, it first aroused his love and mastery for stage performance. Cole later took his talents to transform both Broadway and Hollywood. He set up a workshop in Hollywood to train dancers, Including Marilyn Monroe, and choreograph movies and television. Revered by many dancers, Cole’s legacy was carried on by his proteges, including Gwen Verdon and Matt Mattox. He forged a distinct space for jazz dance and theatre in film with enriched choreography and production design. I have always had a keen passion for learning anything I can about the groundings of modern feminism. Because of this, I really connected to the subject upon learning about Cole’s influence on gender archetypes. In his choreography he propagated and promoted female strength through dominate characters and unapologetic sexuality. His scenarios usually featured a female lead with a group of male background dancers. The female soloist is a forceful boss that owns her physicality (Levine, 2012). Due to his pioneering in

feminine representation, his talent, ambition, innovation, and fearlessness, I found Jack Cole to be an inspirational figure in the history of modern jazz dance.

Works Cited 1.)Friscoe, Roger. Turner Classic Movies, "Choreography by Jack Cole." Last modified September 10, 2013. Accessed February 26, 2014.­month/article/495626|0/Choreography-­by-­Jack-­Cole-­9-­10.html. 2.) Levine, Debra. Dance Heritage Coalition, “Jack Cole (1911-­1974).” Last modified 2012. Accessed February 26, 2014. _essay_levine.pdf 3.) Valis Hill, Constance. “From Bharata Natyam to Bop: Jack Cole’s “Modern” Jazz Dance.” Dance Research Journal. no. 2 (2001): 29-­39. /1477802 (accessed February 26, 2014).

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Jezz Bezos

...Begin Reading Table of Contents Photos Newsletters Copyright Page In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher is unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at Thank you for your support of the author’s rights. For Isabella and Calista Stone When you are eighty years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. —Jeff Bezos, commencement speech at Princeton University, May 30, 2010 Prologue In the early 1970s, an industrious advertising executive named Julie Ray became fascinated with an unconventional public-school program for gifted children in Houston, Texas. Her son was among the first students enrolled in what would later be called the Vanguard program, which stoked creativity and independence in its students and nurtured expansive, outside-the-box thinking. Ray grew so enamored with the curriculum and the community of enthusiastic teachers and parents that she set out to research similar schools around the state with an eye toward writing a book......

Words: 120163 - Pages: 481