One of the most influential directors, choreographers, and dancers of all time, Robert Louis "Bob" Fosse (1927–1987) was born on this day in Chicago, Illinois, his father was a vaudeville actor.
"I thank God that I wasn't born perfect," he once said.
Fosse was a man who fully celebrated life. In 1954, he set the world on fire with his innovative trademark trio dance for the sizzling Steam Heat in The Pajama Game (1954), winning one of many Tony Awards for his choreography. His dance style dripped with passionate sensuality, with his dancers often wearing tight black costumes, hats, or white gloves.
"Dance expresses joy better than anything else," said Fosse who idolized Fred Astaire and was a genius at creating spectacular effects through classic style. His mesmerizing routines were polished and exhilarating.
"The energy doesn’t end at the hands," he said. "I want such intensity that it feels like light is streaming from every finger."
In 1973, Fosse became the only director to win three major industry awards in a single year, winning an Oscar for Cabaret, a Tony for Pippin, and an Emmy for Liza with a Z. His theatrical and cinematic legacy also included such classics as Chicago (2003), Sweet Charity (1969), and All That Jazz (1979).
An original who changed the spirit of modern dance forever, Fosse explained, "Don't dance for the audience; dance for yourself."
More Dance Quotations
"It's showtime, folks!"