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A little over 100 years ago, Broadway theater was just getting started in New York City. In its early days you could catch a musical such as “Black Crook” for $2 a seat. Although it was criticized heavily back then, the Broadway style of theater kept gaining popularity amongst the middle class. Nowadays it is not surprising to find a Broadway dancing and theater school in most big cities around the world. Musical theater enthusiasts attend a range of classes at these school to learn about what makes Broadway theater so special or in the hopes of becoming the next Broadway star.
Definition and Origins
Broadway dance can be defined as the incorporation of ballet, jazz and modern dance styles with theater and singing. At its beginnings, people were intrigued with Broadway theater because it was the first time dance was an integral component of a play’s plot. Because theater critics did not approve of Broadway as a serious type of theater in its first few decades, its creators were known as “gypsies” until successful productions proved otherwise. Some of the earliest recognized Broadway dance choreographers include George Balanchine, Robert Alton and Gower Champion.
Broadway dance is different from other styles because the fusion of ballet, jazz and modern allows for unconventional movements and unusual use of body parts. The use of theater props such as canes, top hats and gloves is also very popular in Broadway productions, allowing once again a variety of movements previously unexplored in theater or dance productions. Finally, what makes Broadway dance contrast with other dance styles is that is also blends in acting and singing, meaning that Broadway dancers also need to be actors and singers.