Tap dance icon Maurice Hines has already had a full career, dancing alongside his brother, Gregory, on the stage and in films for decades. Now, he has planned, choreographed and taken a starring role in a revival of "Sophisticated Ladies," a tribute to the famous jazz musician Duke Ellington.
The production, which is being performed at the theater in Washington, D.C's U Street neighborhood where Ellington got his start, involves many area dancers who auditioned to be part of the cast. Two of those dancers, brothers John and Leo Manzari, caught Hines's eye during their audition. Hines has taken them under his wing, mentoring and dancing with them in "Sophisticated Ladies."
Gregory, who was a constant role model to young dancers such as tap dance phenomenon Savion Glover, vowed Maurice would find some promising artists to mentor as well. Gregory Hines passed away in 2003, and Maurice feels the Manzari brothers are his brother's gifts to him.
"If he does a step, then I can connect to that step and make another step, or do the same step, and just communicate through that. So, it's more of a communication and a connection that makes it fun." - John Manzari, "Sophisticated Ladies"
"Well, first of all, they have great feet. You have got to have that. And they dance like musicians, like a drummer. So, they know all the syncopations. And they make stuff up. They're innovative." - Maurice Hines, director, "Sophisticated Ladies"
1. What is jazz music? What makes it different from other kinds of music?
2. What does a mentor do?
3. What genres of dance are there? How are they different from one another?
1. Hines says in the video that he thinks charisma and great stage presence can't be taught, but is something great performers are born with. Do you agree? Why or why not?
2. Why do you think it would be important to have a mentor when you're learning to do something?
3. How do you think having a sibling to dance with helped the Hines brothers and the Manzari brothers improve and succeed at dancing?
4. How is tap dancing like a conversation? Give an example from the video.
5. What goes into planning and executing a stage production?
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