13 Videos Of The Real Bob Fosse & Gwen Verdon Dancing — Including The One That Inspired Beyonce's "Single Ladies"
Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams are bringing two dance icons to the small screen in FX's miniseries Fosse/Verdon. The eight-part series will span decades as it follows the legendary collaboration between choreographer Bob Fosse and dancer Gwen Verdon. Even if you're familiar with their work, watching videos of Fosse and Verdon dancing is pretty much the perfect way to prepare for the show. So get ready to want to snap, slouch, and slither with the dance moves of this legendary couple over the years.
Most people know Fosse for his choreography in such shows as Sweet Charity, Pippin, and Chicago, as well as the film version of Cabaret. But you may not be as familiar with the dance talent of the man behind the style. While Verdon often collaborated with Fosse, she has never earned the same widespread notoriety as her husband — a fact that Fosse/Verdon seeks to remedy by making her his equal, showing her offer adjustments to dancers' moves, costumes, or even running to aid her husband on set when he hits a creative block.
Rockwell and Williams will dance onscreen when Fosse/Verdon premieres on Tuesday, April 9. But they are actors first and foremost, while Fosse and Verdon were dancers at their cores. So watch the real Fosse and Verdon take the stage in this collection of some of their most notable performances captured on film.
Verdon In 'On The Riviera' (1951)
Check out Verdon's pre-Fosse high kicks in the first minute of this clip from the 1951 Danny Kaye movie, On the Riviera.
Fosse In 'Give A Girl A Break' (1953)
Following Singin' in the Rain, Debbie Reynolds starred in Give a Girl a Break with a relatively-unknown Fosse. But don't expect to see Fosse's style in the above dance since he wasn't the choreographer of this movie.
Fosse In 'Kiss Me Kate' (1953)
The same year as Give a Girl a Break, Fosse did get to bring some of his choreography to the big screen. As The New York Times noted, the choreographer of Kiss Me Kate, Hermes Pan, allowed Fosse to choreograph this moment for himself and Carol Haney. And according to TCM, this led to Fosse earning his first major choreographer gig — The Pajama Game on Broadway, which he won a Tony for.
Fosse In 'My Sister Eileen' (1955)
Fosse brought his dancing and choreography talents to this 1955 film where he dance battles with another phenomenal male dancer of the era, Tommy Rall. You can also see Fosse's signature snaps in a far more wholesome setting that fans have come to expect in this other My Sister Eileen dance with Janet Leigh.
Verdon In "Whatever Lola Wants" From 'Damn Yankees' (1958)
Verdon recreated her Tony-winning role of Lola in Damn Yankees for the 1958 film. The 1955 Broadway version was the first time she worked with her future husband Fosse.
Verdon & Fosse Together In 'Damn Yankees' (1958)
Although he wasn't a major role, Fosse joined Verdon's Lola in Damn Yankees for this high-jumping "Who's Got the Pain?" performance.
Verdon In 'Redhead' (1959)
Modern audiences may have never heard of Fosse's Broadway directorial debut, Redhead. But Verdon landed her fourth and final Tony award for the 1959 musical. Plus, the show won Best Musical.
Fosse & Verdon In "Dancin' Man" (1962)
Fosse and Verdon were a dancin' man and woman in this segment on the variety show The Garry Moore Show in 1962. Fosse would use the song, "I Wanna Be a Dancin' Man," again in his musical revue Dancin' in 1978.
Verdon In "If They Could See Me Now" From 'Sweet Charity' (1966)
Movie fans know Shirley MacLaine as Charity in Sweet Charity, but the role was created for Verdon on Broadway first. As TCM reported, there were no hard feelings about MacLaine landing the part in the 1969 film and Verdon even helped the actress with the choreography.
Verdon In "I'm A Brass Band" From 'Sweet Charity' (1966)
Verdon was over 40 when she originated the role of Sweet Charity on Broadway in 1966, so her moves in the show are absolutely deserving of another look.
Verdon In "Mexican Breakfast" (1969)
Bob Fosse In 'The Little Prince' (1974)
This 1974 film adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's beloved book Le Petit Prince featured Fosse as the sneaky snake. (A role once also held by this author.) And before Queen Bey did it, Michael Jackson clearly also stole Fosse's moves and style.
Verdon In 'Chicago' (1975)
Chita Rivera and Verdon originated the roles of Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, respectively, when Chicago premiered on Broadway with Fosse's choreography in 1975. And their legacies live on thanks to the 2002 Oscar-winning movie adaptation and the 1996 Broadway revival that's still running.
While Rockwell and Williams will certainly move in Fosse/Verdon, nothing beats the real thing. And thanks to these videos, Fosse and Verdon's abilities will be available for new generations of dance lovers to come.