Choreographer Michael Kidd — responsible for some of the best-known dance sequences in film and stage — succumbed Sunday to cancer at the age of 92.
Kidd’s work for Broadway productions earned him five Tony Awards (for Finian’s Rainbow, Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Li’l Abner, and Destry Rides Again); his most enduring film choreography includes Hello, Dolly! and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Despite acting on numerous occasions (including 1955’s It’s Always Fair Weather and 1975’s Smile), Kidd preferred to stay behind the scenes; aside from choreography, he directed and co-produced on Broadway. The L.A. Times offers the following anecdote:
Dark-haired, slender and of moderate height (5 feet 6), Kidd may not have looked commanding. He led by example, never asking his dancers to do anything he could not do himself.
The problem was, he could perform almost every move with strength and panache, which led one dancer to curse him under her breath after she complained that she could not execute a certain step wearing high heels.
Kidd, according to a 1959 New York Times account of the incident, responded sympathetically, then said: “Lend me your shoes. I have small feet.”
He performed the step perfectly.
Source: L.A. Times