Jack Cole

(27 April 1911 – 17 February 1974)

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Jack Cole – “Father of Theatrical Jazz Dance” – was an American dancer, choreographer, and theatre director and began his career with Denishawn, appearing for the first time in August 1930 at the Lewisohn Stadium. His early training was Cecchetti and he left Denishawn to study with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, performing with them on Broadway in “School for Husbands” (1933). Cole’s mastery of India’s bharata natyam influenced his personal jazz style, which emphasised isolations, placements, quick directional changes, and long knee slides. Among his Broadway works were “Magdalena” (1948), “Kismet” (1953), “Jamaica” (1957), and both “Donnybrook!” and “Kean” in 1961. He established an important dance workshop at Columbia Pictures in Hollywood to train dancers, while choreographing movies, television, and casino shows. At Twentieth Century Fox he coached such stars as Ann Miller and Marilyn Monroe. Cole’s films include “Eadie Was a Lady” (1945), “Down to Earth” (1947), “On the Riviera” (1951), and “Some Like It Hot” (1959). Revered by dancers, the Cole legacy has been continued by protégés Gwen Verdon, Matt Mattox, Marc Platt, Carol Haney, and Rod Alexander.