Apache dance

> History

v Appearance in movies and such

I remember seeing an Apache dance in the movie "Can-Can" staring Shirley McLain, how authentic it is, I don't know; the dances were staged by Hermes Pan, the personal choreographer for Fred Astaire. I think there is also one in "Funny Face" staring Leslie Caron and Fred Astaire, in the beatnick coffee house scene. If I think of any more, I'll repost.

I have seen a clip from a Charlie Chan movie "Charlie Chan in Paris" (1935) that was clearly Apache. The Apache is done as a nightclub performance between partners who also seem to be friends or lovers. The dance is done in the main room of a nightclub with a lot of shoving, fake beatings, tossing around, but all well-danced and well-choreographed. The dance ends with the man throwing the woman through a sugar-glass window and the audience bursting into riotous applause. The camera cuts to a small room, with the woman lying on a mattress, getting ready to get up. The scene cuts back to the main room, focusing on Charlie and Number One Son. There is a scream, everybody rushes through the window to the small room, and the woman is lying dead on the mattress.

My favorite apache' danced in the movies is danced by Gene Kelly. It is in the final big dance number (called "Gotta Dance!") from "Singin' in The Rain", and this portion stars Cyd Charisse & Kelly. Two very different scenes come to mind, so he might actually do two of them. One of the scenes is in this nightclub with this black haired woman in green and a long cigarette holder. She is some mobster's girl. He is the innocent hick. Whether this is truly an Apache dance, also, is debatable -- since so many different things go on during that pas de deux (another great one, but not as great as the "blue fountain" scene in A.I.P. w/ Caron & Kelly). None of the visual narrative implies Cyd Charisse is dancing with Gene Kelly as if he is her pimp and she is his recalcitrant whore -- unlike the typical Apache dance. Yes, she have a mobster in the BACKGROUND, flipping a large coin impatiently while she dances a very erotic dance with Kelly -- but that's not the same as a true Apache dance BETWEEN a pimp and his whore.

There is a very very mild apache' in the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Really weird when the ancient biblical types are suddenly dressed in the stripes and classic bohemian parisienne look.

Re movies: Maurice Chevalier did a number called "I'm an Apache" in either "Love Me Tonight" or "The Love Parade" (both c. 1935) although he doesn't do the dance (bravo Chevalier!). George Raft and Carole Lombard did an Apache-type dance in "Bolero" also about 1935.

[There is a suggestion you will see it in 'American in Paris' and ' Pajama Game']

There is a great (albeit brief) apache dance in Charlie Chaplin's City Lights. It doesn't last more than 8 seconds or so ( the Tramp jumps to the lady's defence!) but it encompasses the whole spirit and look of the dance better than many films cited. [Marcel Jeannin]

The Apache dance is also performed in the excellent film Strip-O-Rama, available through Something Weird videotapes or possibly through Filmfax magazine. [Bill Crum]

If you rent (or buy) Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (with Donny Osmond (which I am still trying to get used to, although he is actually fine in the roll (but I digress))), The Canaan Days number includes an Apache dance. [Karina Wright]

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Last modified on: Wednesday, 2001 August, 15.

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