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Ned Wayburn and the Dance Routine
From Vaudeville to the Ziegfeld Follies
Barbara Stratyner



Studies in Dance History

In the early twentieth century no American choreographer was more famous than Ned Wayburn. His chorus lines enlivened dozens of shows, as did his dance routines, which mined virtually every movement idiom of the day from tap, toe, ballet, and ballroom to acrobatic and musical comedy styles. He invented the "Ziegfeld Walk" (so his show girls could navigate designer Joseph Urban's stairs) and found innumerable ways of incorporating stars and their acts into all kinds of musical shows. He launched numerous stars, including Marilyn Miller and Barbara Stanwyck, and was a major influence on Hollywood musicals of the 1930s.

Ned Wayburn and the Dance Routine is the first major study of Wayburn. It reveals the motley nineteenth–century sources of Wayburn's work—minstrel shows; military, fancy, and aesthetic drills; spectacle ballets; cotillions; rhythmic gymnastics á la Delsarte—and the dance idioms that became the foundation of his mature choreography. There are chapters on the feature acts that he created for the vaudeville stage, individual specialty acts, and chorus specialty numbers, with detailed accounts of how each of them worked.

The book ends with a sampling of Wayburn's "home-study" lessons and dance routines, including the foot and arm positions of his "modern Americanized ballet." Of special interest to scholars is the selected chronology of shows staged by Wayburn—the first such listing ever published—and an exceptionally full bibliography.

Studies in Dance History
A series of the Society of Dance History Scholars


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Ned Wayburn and the Dance Routine.

June 1996
146 pp.   7 x 10

Distributed for the Society of Dance History Scholars

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Paper $14.95 s
ISBN
978-0-9653519-2-8
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