The Miriam Nelson Tap Experience

Nov. 9-11, 2007

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This past workshop in the Tradition In Tap - Series
was dedicated to the work of 'Hollywood Tap Star':

Ms. Miriam Nelson


The Miriam Nelson Tap Experience The Miriam Nelson Tap Experience





Pictures Taken in Classes
The Workshop's Poster
Participants Showcase - Program
Resources
Workshop Faculty
Workshop Description





Emmy Award Nominee - May 21, 1978 - Choreography of Ziegfeld, The Man And His Women
Emmy Award Nominee - May 21, 1978
Choreography of Ziegfeld, The Man And His Women





This Exciting Tap Workshop Included:

  • Original Choreography created and taught by the 'Master' herself.
  • Honorary Master Classes by leading tap artists.
  • Participants Showcase.
  • Tradition In Tap - Award Ceremony.
  • Tap History Talks.
  • Video Presentation.
  • Tap Technique.
  • Dance Teacher Recognizes' certificate (For Teachers Only).
  • Special Program for Young Tappers.





  • Accepting an award from President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, on behalf of SHARE Inc.
    Accepting an award from President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan,
    on behalf of SHARE Inc.





    The Miriam Nelson Tap Experience





    About:

    The following Biography is from Larry Billman's book:
    Film Choreographers and Dance Directors
    An Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia With a History and Filmographies
    1893 Through 1995

    MIRIAM NELSON (née Franklin, later Meyers)
    b. Chicago, Illinois, September 21, 1922

    Miriam began dance studies in her native Chicago and when her family moved to New York, she studied tap with Ernest Carlos at the age of 14. In a borrowed pair of toe shoes, she auditioned for Billy Rose's Casa Mañana, but instead made her professional debut with an act playing Troy and Schnectady. She eventually played the Casa Mañana and next, the Mayfair Club in Boston.

    After making her Broadway debut in 1938 in Sing Out the News, she went on to appear in Yokel Boy and Very Warm For May ('39), Higher and Higher and Panama Hattie ('40) and Let's Face It ('41), working with choreographers Robert Alton, Billy Daniel and Charles Walters and often selected to be line-captain.

    When her husband, Gene Nelson, joined the Signal Corps, Miriam went to Hollywood, where she signed an acting-dancing contract with Paramount and was featured in Double Indemnity and Here Come the Waves ('44), Duffy's Tavern and Incendiary Blonde ('45) and Naughty Nanette (a '46 short) and in Cover Girl ('44) and The Jolson Story ('46) for Columbia.

    First assisting Paramount dance director Danny Dare, she began choreographing and when Gene was signed by Warner Bros. to star in a series of musical films, she co-created many of his solo routines and coached Doris Day and his other female costars. Divorced from Nelson, she continued as one of Hollywood's busiest TV and film choreographers (along with her tap expertise, she specialized in staging party sequences), as well as being one of the pioneers of spectacular Arena show staging with Disney on Parade in 1969.

    As one of the founders of SHARE, she has staged and produced their annual fund-raising Boomtown shows for decades and, as a member of the Professional Dancer's Society (PDS) Board of Directors, she also co-produces and stages their annual tributes to dancers and choreographers.

    Widowed after her second husband's, producer Jack Meyers, death, she returned to the stage in longtime-friend Marge Champion's production of Ballroom at the Long Beach CLO in 1992.

    Juggling the roles of choreographer, tap instructor and lecturer, director and producer (as well as mother and grandmother), she is in the process of writing her autobiography.

    Additional information including a list of stage, movies, commercials and TV appearances is on Miriam Nelson's bio page.






    1944 Columbia Pictures: Cover Girl - 3rd from the left: Rita Hayworth, Miriam Nelson and Gene Kelly
    1944 Columbia Pictures: 'Cover Girl'
    3rd from the left: Rita Hayworth, Miriam Nelson and Gene Kelly





    MTVM 1978: 'Ziegfled, A Man and His Women', Number featuring Valerie Perrine, Choreographer: Miriam Nelson
    MTVM 1978: 'Ziegfled, A Man and His Women'
    Number featuring Valerie Perrine
    Choreographer: Miriam Nelson





    Resources:
    More about Miriam Nelson can be found at:





    Film: 'Cactus Flower', 1969, Choreographer Miriam Nelson working with star, Ingrid Bergman
    Film: 'Cactus Flower', 1969
    Choreographer Miriam Nelson working with star, Ingrid Bergman





    Workshop Faculty:
    Click on a name for extended bio and pictures


    The Miriam Nelson Tap Experience
  • Ofer Ben
  • Karen Callaway Williams
  • Debbi Dee
  • Rusty Frank
  • Ray Hesselink
  • Melba Huber
  • Avi Miller
  • Miriam Nelson
  • Germaine Salsberg
  • Prof. Hank Smith
  • Shea Sullivan
  • Dianne 'Lady Di' Walker






  • Workshop Description:
    The Miriam Nelson Tap Experience,
    an intensive weekend of exciting events, included:

    Tap Course:
    With:
    Miriam Nelson
    • Original Choreography: Fascinatin' Rhythms
      Miriam Nelson, assisted by Ray Hesselink, taught an original routine named Fascinatin' Rhythms. This routine is part of Ms. Nelson's repertory, and was taught in whole.


    Honorary Tap Master Classes:
    With:
    Karen Callaway-Williams, Debbi Dee, Rusty Frank,
    Ray Hesselink & Dianne 'Lady Di'  Walker

      Five leading tap artists taught reflections on Miriam Nelson's legacy through their personal work. Each drew on Nelson's influence and contribution to his / her own career.


    Tradition In Tap - Award Ceremony:
    With:
    Tradition In Tap - Committee Members
      Dianne 'Lady Di' Walker presented Ms. Miriam Nelson...and Jason Samuels-Smith presented Rusty Frank with the Tradition In Tap Award for: "Outstanding Achievements & Significant Contribution To The Tradition And Art Of Tap Dance".


    Tap History Talks:
    With:
    Rusty Frank
      Rusty Frank led the emotional 'Tap History Talks' while interviewing Miriam Nelson and adding her own personal input.


    Video Presentation:
    With:
    Prof. Hank Smith
      Hank Smith is a well known tap dancer, and collector of video & movie clips. He has an extensive library of material starting from the early days of tap dance. Hank presented some clips of Miriam Nelson on film and video.


    Tap Exercises:
    With:
    Germaine Salsberg, Shea Sullivan, Avi Miller & Ofer Ben
      Warm-up for each day will be with Germaine Salsberg, Shea Sullivan, Avi Miller & Ofer Ben, who will led afternoon / morning tap drills - each with his/her own unique teaching style.


    Participants Showcase:
    With:
    Germaine Salsberg
      A happy event concluded the second day of classes in this exciting Miriam Nelson Tap Experience. Germaine Salsberg emceed an informal Participants Showcase at The Theatre at St. Peter's Church, Citigroup Center in the presence of the 'Master Herself', Miriam Nelson.





    At MGM: (L to R) Jane Powell, Miriam Nelson, Marge Champion, June Allyson, Ann Miller and Cyd Charisse
    At MGM: (L to R) Jane Powell, Miriam Nelson, Marge Champion, June Allyson,
    Ann Miller and Cyd Charisse





    Miriam Nelson with Donald O'Conner - she staged his Las Vegas night club act
    Miriam Nelson with Donald O'Conner
    she staged his Las Vegas night club act





    Miriam Nelson is giving Bob Hope instructions for a show at Alzheimer's Gala. Dorothy Kristen in foreground
    Miriam Nelson is giving Bob Hope instructions for a show at
    Alzheimer's Gala. Dorothy Kristen in foreground





    L to R: Steve Lawrence, Miriam Nelson and Johnny Carson - 1975 SHARE Inc. 'Boomtown' Show
    L to R: Steve Lawrence, Miriam Nelson and Johnny Carson
    1975 SHARE Inc. 'Boomtown' Show





    Long Beach Civic Light Opera: 'Queen of the Stardust Ballroom', 1992 Photo: Craig Schwartz, L to R: Carol Arthur, Mriam Nelson, unknown (Cloris Leachman's sister) & Tyne Daly
    Long Beach Civic Light Opera: 'Queen of the Stardust Ballroom' 1992
    Photo: Craig Schwartz
    L to R: Carol Arthur, Mriam Nelson, Claiborne Carey & Tyne Daly





    The Miriam Nelson Tap Experience





    Miriam Nelson with Johnny Coy, in Duffy's Tavern
    Miriam Nelson with Johnny Coy, in Duffy's Tavern





    Miriam Nelson with Jack Palance
    Miriam Nelson with Jack Palance





    Miriam Nelson, dancing with husband Gene Nelson - Warner Bros. Studios 1950's
    Miriam Nelson, dancing with husband Gene Nelson
    Warner Bros. Studios 1950's





    The Miriam Nelson Tap Experience
    Miriam Nelson - current promo headshot