History Quiz: Robert Alton

1.  Name the famous jazz teacher who Alton encouraged to start teaching.


2.  The Bolshoi-trained ballet dancer, Mikhail Mordkin taught Alton a beautiful _____ _____ _____ and an expansive use of the _____ _____.


3.  Alton made which Hollywood star move effortlessly?

4.  In his first gig as a film dance director, Alton nodded to what famous movie musical director/choreographer by shooting the performers from above in kaleidoscopic fashion?


5.  Alton moved chorus dancing into a new era, by featuring _____ and _____ _____, and requiring the
chorus to be adept at both _____ and _____.

6.  Unlike his younger contemporaries Agnes de Mille and Jack Cole, who labored to expand their choreographic vocabulary, Alton became known for what techniques?


7.  What celebrated screen star did Alton discover and help develop his career?


8.  True or False: Alton’s genius lay in his ability to elegantly incorporate many dance genres (ballet, tap, modern, ballroom) into one number.


9.  Name three of Alton’s most notable works.


10. True or False: For a quarter of a century, Alton split his time between Broadway and Hollywood, creating dances for the stage and MGM productions.




1  Luigi;  2. Port de bras; upper body;  3. Judy Garland;  4. Busby Berkeley;  5. Soloists; small groups; tap; ballet;  6. Synthesizing dance material already popular at the time, and enabling performers to distill their personalities through their dancing.;  7. Gene Kelly;  8. True;  9. Cole Porter’s Anything Goes (1934), Panama Hattie (1940), Rodgers and Hart’s Pal Joey (1940), Easter Parade (1948), Show Boat (1951) and The Harvey Girls (1946), Till the Clouds Go By (1946), Ziegfeld Follies (1945) and/or Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (1954);10. True


Photo of Robert Alton dancing with Great Garbo in Two Faced Woman (MGM 1940), courtesy of Larry Billman/Academy of Dance on Film.

Rachel Neville, courtesy DTH

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