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West Side Story:

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by

Denise Brown

on 28 February 2017

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Transcript of West Side Story:

West Side Story:
Cultural & Social Connections

Swing Dance continues to expand into the 1950's with additional names such as the Lindy and the Jitterbug.
In addition to Swing, other social dances included the Stroll, the solo version of the Bop, Calypso, the line dance Madison, the Bunny Hop, and the Twist. By the end of the 1950's Rock and Roll became popular. Partners no longer danced together.
A combination of the Rumba and Swing, Mambo was the most popular Latin dance of the 1950s. Perez Prado, a Cuban, helped to popularize the Mambo in NYC.
The Palladium Ballroom was the hotspot for Latin dance in NYC in the 1950's and featured popular Mambo dancers, Millie Donay and Pedro Aguilar (Cuban Pete).
Salsa dance & music (popularized by NYC Puerto Ricans during the 1950's), was inspired by the Cuban influenced Mambo dance & music. Tito Puente was one of the most well known Puerto Rican American salsa artists in NYC.
Resources:
http://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/teen_dances.htm
http://dancetimepublications.com/resources/social-dance-timeline/1950s-rock-n-roll-mambo/
http://www.laventure.net/tourist/prez_bio.htm
http://www.examiner.com/article/the-mambo-dance-craze-of-the-1950-s-and-how-the-mambo-became-the-cha-cha
http://www.examiner.com/article/finally-the-difference-between-salsa-and-mambo
http://www.loti.com/fifties_favorite_50s%20-dances.htm
Opened on Broadway on
September 26th, 1957
.
Book
by Arthur Laurents,
Composed
by Leonard Bernstein,
Choreographed

and directed
by Jerome Robbins, and
Lyrics
written by Stephen Sondheim.
Won two
Tony's for Choreography and Set Design
.
The 1961 Film version, won
10 Academy Awards
, including Best Picture.
The most
recent revival
on Broadway opened on March 19th, 2009.
Resources:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/bernsteins-west-side-story-opens
http://www.playbill.com/news/article/120296-West-Side-Story-Revival-Directed-by-Laurents-Sets-Broadway-Opening-Date

West Side Story: Brief History
Jerome Robbins (1918-1998):
The Choreographer & Director
Renowned for his work as a
ballet choreographer
-New York City Ballet, Ballets U.S.A., American Ballet Theatre, and other international companies.
Additional extensive work within
commercial theater and Broadway
.
Earned numerous
awards/honors
, including: the Handel Medallion of the City of New York (1976), the Kennedy Center Honors (1981), three Honorary Doctorates, an honorary membership in the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1985) and in 1988 he was awarded the National Medal of the Arts.
Described as a choreographic genius who excelled with
storytelling
and coached his dancers to portray a
character
He was also known to have a temper and demanded a lot from his dancers.
Resources:
http://www.nycballet.com/Explore/Our-History/Jerome-Robbins.aspx
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/jerome-robbins/about-the-artist/1099/


West Side Story's Storyline
A modern day version of Romeo & Juliet, by William Shakespeare.
Takes place on the west side of Manhattan, New York City.
Set in the mid 1950's, when many Puerto Ricans moved to NYC.
Portrays the conflict of two gangs, the Jets (Manhattan) and the Sharks (Puerto Rico) and the love story between Tony (a Jet) and Bernardo's (a Shark) sister Maria.
Resource:

http://www.westsidestory.com/site/level2/archives/fact/faq.html#1
U.S./Manhattan:
The 1950's & Juvenile Delinquency

Puerto Rican immigrants
moved into Manhattan's Upper West Side neighborhoods.
Gang Violence
was a frequent occurrence, especially between different races. In 1957, the killing of
Michael Farmer
in Highbridge Park (located in Washington Heights) was a result of gange violence between the
Egyptian Dragons and the Jesters
.
In Manhattan, there was a
lack of working-class jobs
and
cramped living conditions
. In addition, the
racism between cultures
caused many adolescents to feel frustrated and angry.
Youth Identity
was defined by they clothing they wore, and there was an attempt to look "good" and feature a gang's insignia.

LISTEN TO THIS RADIO INTERVIEW!
-https://soundcloud.com/radio-diaries/radio-diaries-michaelfarmer

Resource:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/donotmigrate/3556888/50-years-of-West-Side-Story-the-real-Gangs-of-New-York.html
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12350113
http://newyorkcitygangs.com/?page_id=34

Social Dances/Music of the 1950's
Perez Prado and Dancers
performing a Mambo!
The Cuban influence on Mambo and Salsa dance & music.
NYC 1950's Gangs-Murder of Michael Farmer.

West Side Story and NY Export: Opus Jazz
"NY Export: Opus Jazz (1958)-Choreography by Jerome Robbins, was also
inspired by the teenage youth of the 1950's.
New York City Ballet created a present day film version of "NY Export: Opus Jazz".
What comparisons can you make between WSS and NY Opus Jazz?

By Denise Brown
Full transcript