In Memoriam: Michael KiddWith all the holiday activity I’m a little late in reporting this, but legendary Broadway and Hollywood choreographer Michael Kidd died this week. (Pictured above, left, on set with Gene Kelly) A native of Brooklyn, Kidd got his start at the American School of Ballet and went on to become a principle ballet dancer. He eventually crossed over to Broadway where he became one of the best choreographers in the business winning five Tony Awards. His credits read like a chapter out of Musical Theatre history with Guys & Dolls, Finian’s Rainbow, Can Can, Li’l Abner and Wildcat among them.
Kidd was equally in demand in Hollywood at MGM studios during its golden age of musicals in the 1950s. There he choreographed for the likes of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Cyd Charise among others. He credited his signature athletic style to movements that came from real life and fit the characters for whom he was choreographing. Perhaps the best example of this is the Barn Raising sequence in the 1954 classic Seven Brides for Seven Brothers--one of the best dance sequences ever to be put on film. With the task of choreographing a ballet for lumberjacks, Kidd included such actions as ax wielding and log rolling into the number forever dispelling the myth that dancing is for sissies.
Michael Kidd died of cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 92. Click below to watch the Barn Raising sequence from Seven Brides.