The New Dance Movie We’re Excited About: La La Land

You know when Emma Stone appears on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to promote a dance-heavy film (La La Land), there’s bound to be on-air dancing—there are just too many dance factors involved for that to head in any other direction.

And of course, their dance game—kind of a mix between dance charades and hot potato—doesn’t disappoint. I particularly enjoyed Ellen’s surprisingly weak whip and nae nae moves and a hilarious teleprompter misspelling.


I’m actually incredibly psyched about La La Land. (It comes out December 10! I am counting down the days, I kid you not. I haven’t been looking forward this much to a dance movie since…Chicago? Um, whoa.) It’s being described as a real throwback musical, and none other than the marvelous Mandy Moore choreographed it.

In fact, at our DT Summit this year, Moore briefly talked about how she missed the art of counting. She described a funny scene from filming La La Land, in which Ryan Gosling (who co-stars with Stone and isn’t a trained dancer) had to stop Moore and ask why she only counted to eight. “It’s the only way we could communicate,” she says. “‘What does your body do on five?’ The art of counting has gone away, and it makes me sad.”

So far, two trailers have dropped for the film, and for my money, they’re both worth watching. (Look for the dreamy planetarium scene!)

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Betty Jones in The Moor's Pavane, shot for Dance Magazine's "Dancers You Should Know" series in 1955. Zachary Freyman, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow

An anchor of the Humphrey-Limón legacy for more than 70 years, Betty Jones died at her home in Honolulu on November 17, 2020. She remained active well into her 90s, most recently leading a New York workshop with her husband and partner, Fritz Ludin, in October 2019.

Betty May Jones was born on June 11, 1926 in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and moved with her family to the Albany, New York, area, where she began taking dance classes. Just after she turned 15 in 1941, she began serious ballet study at Jacob's Pillow, which was under the direction of Anton Dolin and Alicia Markova for the season. Over the next three summers as a scholarship student, Jones expanded her range and became an integral part of Jacob's Pillow. Among her duties was working in the kitchen, where her speedy efficiency earned her the nickname of "Lightning."

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