Queens College to Screen "Keep Dancing," with Champion and Saddler, Feb. 28

News   Queens College to Screen "Keep Dancing," with Champion and Saddler, Feb. 28
Marge Champion and Donald Sadler will discuss their lengthy careers following a screening of "Keep Dancing," a new documentary celebrating the 90-year-old dancers, Feb. 28 at Queens College.

Douglas Blair Turnbaugh and Greg Vander Veer created the documentary, which according to press notes, "seamlessly blends 9 decades of archival film and photographs with present day footage, [and] tells a story through dance of the passing of time and the process of aging."

Queens College film historian Philip Harwood will host the 3 PM screening and discussion in the LeFrak Concert Hall that will feature Champion, Sadler and filmmakers Turnbaugh and Vander Veer.

Champion, the wife of late Tony Award-winning choreographer Gower Champion and acclaimed dancer in her own right, appeared with Tony Award-winning choreographer and director Saddler in the 2001 revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies. After performing "Rain on the Roof" and the bolero together nightly during the Broadway run, the two decided to rent a private studio together, where they continue to meet twice a week to catch up, choreograph new work and take barre together.

Champion has been a legend in Hollywood since she and her late husband, Gower Champion, became America's most famous dance team of the 1950's. She began her career when Walt Disney hired her to be the live-action model for Snow White in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" as well as the Blue Fairy in "Pinocchio," and the stork ballerina and Hyacinth Hippo in "Fantasia." Marge and Gower Champion began their partnership in nightclubs and eventually became the Hollywood heirs to Astaire and Rogers, appearing in many films: "Show Boat," "Three for the Show," "Jupiter's Darling" and "Lovely to Look At" to name a few. They were pioneers of television, appearing regularly on "The Ed Sullivan Show," "Shower of the Stars," "Dinah Shore Show" and starred in "The Marge and Gower Champion Show." She choreographed "Whose Life Is It Anyway?," "The Day of the Locust" and "Queen of the Stardust Ballroom," for which she received an Emmy Award.

Donald Saddler spent his school vacations at the MGM studios, eventually dancing in the chorus of movie musicals. He was an original member of the American Ballet Theatre; leaving later to dance on Broadway. As a choreographer, Donald staged 21 Broadway shows, including Wonderful Town; No, No Nanette; On Your Toes; The Grand Tour; The Robber Bridegroom; and Milk and Honey. In addition to dozens of Off-Broadway shows, he has also been director-choreographer and/or producer on more than 40 musicals, ballets and special events. His choreographic credits also include scores of shows on television ("Alice in Wonderland," The Tony Awards, The Bell Telephone Hour), in film (Woody Allen's "Radio Days" and for Doris Day in "April in Paris," "Young at Heart," "By the Light of the Silvery Moon") and also operas for The Met, Kennedy Center and NYC Opera. A few of Donald's awards include: the Tony Award, Drama Desk, Dance Magazine Lifetime Achievement, Astaire Lifetime Achievement, Capezio Lifetime Achievement and, in 1997, he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. For tickets, visit KupferbergCenter.org/KeepDancing.

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