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Larry Billman

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ENTERTAINMENT
January 31, 2009
I really enjoyed the comments of Oscar-nominated screenwriter Simon Beaufoy about the joyful dance number at the end of "Slumdog Millionaire" ["Spot the Obsession," by Randee Dawn, in The Envelope, Jan. 28]. For me, that's the feel-good ending that sends us home dancing. Beaufoy's comment, "And dance is really important to me -- it's another kind of wordless expression," shows how screenwriters are using dance to emotionally elevate their scripts. If only the choreographer of that dance sequence (Longiness Fernandes)
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 31, 2009
I really enjoyed the comments of Oscar-nominated screenwriter Simon Beaufoy about the joyful dance number at the end of "Slumdog Millionaire" ["Spot the Obsession," by Randee Dawn, in The Envelope, Jan. 28]. For me, that's the feel-good ending that sends us home dancing. Beaufoy's comment, "And dance is really important to me -- it's another kind of wordless expression," shows how screenwriters are using dance to emotionally elevate their scripts. If only the choreographer of that dance sequence (Longiness Fernandes)
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ENTERTAINMENT
May 28, 2008 | Chris Pasles
The Brea-based Academy of Dance on Film, a nonprofit arts organization that houses more than 2,000 dance videotapes, 1,500 magazines and 1,000 program books from films, stage musicals and dance companies, will shut its doors June 1 because of lack of funding. Founded in 1999 in Hollywood by choreographer and author Larry Billman, the academy saw a large drop off in visitors after it moved to Brea in 2003, according to Billman. Also, requests for information have diminished because of the availability of materials on Google, Wikipedia and other Internet sites, he said.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 27, 2008
IN Ann Powers' review of Janet Jackson's concert [Sept. 19], the headline "Well-planned choreography helps put her fully in charge at Staples Center" caught my eye. Although Powers mentioned the dance, dancers and "demanding routines," she never mentioned the artists responsible for that staging and choreography. As author of "Film Choreographers and Dance Directors," over the years I have attempted to educate film critics about the same omission. The art of dance-making is supposed to make it seem as if the performers are making it up on the spot.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 10, 1992
Regarding Diane Haithman's excellent article about the movie musical ("With a Song in Its Heart," April 26): All the conjecture in the world about why today's audiences do not flock to movie musicals is wasted. A great musical would change everyone's feelings: audience, studios, producers and creative artists. Disney's "Newsies" is simply not a good film. The story is weak, the leading players uncharismatic and the direction and choreography unfocused. As the movie industry flounders for successful "formulas," "Dances With Wolves" brings back the Western, "Thelma & Louise" offers strong roles for women, and "The Little Mermaid" reinstates Disney animation at the box office.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 27, 2008
IN Ann Powers' review of Janet Jackson's concert [Sept. 19], the headline "Well-planned choreography helps put her fully in charge at Staples Center" caught my eye. Although Powers mentioned the dance, dancers and "demanding routines," she never mentioned the artists responsible for that staging and choreography. As author of "Film Choreographers and Dance Directors," over the years I have attempted to educate film critics about the same omission. The art of dance-making is supposed to make it seem as if the performers are making it up on the spot.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 30, 2001 | VICTORIA LOOSELEAF
The cozy Hollywood apartment, built in 1918, already had a Tinseltown pedigree: It was once owned by Mickey Hargitay, one-time husband of sex goddess Jayne Mansfield; and in the 1980s, members of the band Guns N' Roses lived there, where the digs were appropriately dubbed "Disgraceland." Since 1998, however, Larry Billman, former hoofer-turned-stage director, writer and researcher, has transformed the two-bedroom flat into a repository for all things relating to commercial dance.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 24, 1999
I was delighted to read Bill Desowitz's article about Alfred Hitchcock's centenary (April 16). He is certainly deserving of all the tributes and retrospectives that are planned. As I read, I remembered that Fred Astaire would have been 100 years old on May 10, but--as yet--have not heard a peep (or is it a "tap"?) for any plans to salute or remember one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. It seems he will be erased from our culture and collective memory, except to dance with vacuum cleaners or to be the subject of countless lawsuits.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 12, 2009
I am writing to thank you for Debra Levine's wonderful article on Theodore Kosloff ["Cutting a Fouette Figure," April 5]. In today's fast-paced, flavor-of-the-minute lust, Hollywood forgets its past and the pioneers who took the film industry from a very primitive art form to the global shaping phenomenon it became. Levine honors Kosloff in his contributions to the dance history of California as well as pointing out the connections to Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, Cecil B. DeMille, Agnes de Mille, the Hollywood Bowl and the privileged children of Hollywood's leaders and many future dance figures who took classes at his schools.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 21, 1996
I disagree very strongly with Jan Breslauer's article "Not Just Horsing Around" (July 7), which says that the set in "Carousel" is the star. To compare Bob Crowley's beautifully integrated scenic design to the mega-structures of "Sunset Boulevard," "Phantom of the Opera" and "Miss Saigon" is to compare Degas to Rubens. The scenery in "Carousel" is one of the most imaginative, collaborative efforts in contemporary theater. It is not the star, it does not overpower the actors. It enriches and enhances the entire production and allows the audience to participate in the collaboration by filling in the blank spots with their imagination--something that is definitely missing in today's theater.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 28, 2008 | Chris Pasles
The Brea-based Academy of Dance on Film, a nonprofit arts organization that houses more than 2,000 dance videotapes, 1,500 magazines and 1,000 program books from films, stage musicals and dance companies, will shut its doors June 1 because of lack of funding. Founded in 1999 in Hollywood by choreographer and author Larry Billman, the academy saw a large drop off in visitors after it moved to Brea in 2003, according to Billman. Also, requests for information have diminished because of the availability of materials on Google, Wikipedia and other Internet sites, he said.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 30, 2001 | VICTORIA LOOSELEAF
The cozy Hollywood apartment, built in 1918, already had a Tinseltown pedigree: It was once owned by Mickey Hargitay, one-time husband of sex goddess Jayne Mansfield; and in the 1980s, members of the band Guns N' Roses lived there, where the digs were appropriately dubbed "Disgraceland." Since 1998, however, Larry Billman, former hoofer-turned-stage director, writer and researcher, has transformed the two-bedroom flat into a repository for all things relating to commercial dance.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 10, 1992
Regarding Diane Haithman's excellent article about the movie musical ("With a Song in Its Heart," April 26): All the conjecture in the world about why today's audiences do not flock to movie musicals is wasted. A great musical would change everyone's feelings: audience, studios, producers and creative artists. Disney's "Newsies" is simply not a good film. The story is weak, the leading players uncharismatic and the direction and choreography unfocused. As the movie industry flounders for successful "formulas," "Dances With Wolves" brings back the Western, "Thelma & Louise" offers strong roles for women, and "The Little Mermaid" reinstates Disney animation at the box office.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 18, 2007 | Mary Rourke, Times Staff Writer
Alex Romero, a dancer and choreographer who directed Elvis Presley's dancing for the movie "Jailhouse Rock" and also worked with Presley on three other films, has died. He was 94. Romero died Sept. 8 of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Fund home, according to Mark Knowles, a dance writer and friend. He had been a resident of the home for several years. A gracefully athletic dancer, Romero got his start in movies in the early 1940s.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2008 | Mary Rourke, Times Staff Writer
Robert Sidney, who choreographed for the Broadway stage and Las Vegas nightclubs as well as for movies and television, died of pneumonia March 26 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, according to publicist Dale Olson. He was 98. Best known for his work in "This Is the Army," a 1942 Broadway show with music by Irving Berlin that later toured the world and was made into a movie in 1943, Sidney went on to create dance numbers for many of Hollywood's major talents.
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