Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Late Great Ann Reinking

Dancer, choreographer, and actress Ann Reinking died December 12 2020 at the age of 71. She worked extensively on Broadway, appearing in such productions as Goodtime Charley, Chicago, and Sweet Charity.

Ann Reinking was born on November 10 1949 in Seattle, Washington. She started ballet lessons while still a child and studied with former Ballets Russes dancers Marian and Illaria Ladre. She was only twelve years old when she made her professional debut, appearing in Giselle with the English Royal Ballet. While she attended junior high and high school she studied at the San Francisco Ballet on a scholarship. It was following her graduation from Bellevue High School that she took at the Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, offered by the Joffrey Ballet.

When Miss Reinking was 18, she moved to New York City. She danced with the corps de ballet at Radio City Music Hall. She was part of the ensemble in the tour of Fiddler on the Roof in 1968. In 1969 she made her Broadway debut as part of the ensemble in Cabaret. Ann Reinking would appear regularly on Broadway throughout her career. After appearing in the ensembles of Coco, Wild and Wonderful, and Pippin, she played the role of Maggie in Over Here!. Over the years she would appear on Broadway in Goodtime Charley, Chicago, Dancin', and Sweet Charity. She began work as a choreographer Tommy Tune Tonite! in 1992. She would contribute choreography to the 1996 revival of Chicago, Fosse, The Look of Love, and An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin.

Ann Reinking also appeared at theatres outside Broadway. She appeared in Girl Crazy at The Muny in St. Louis in 1975, The Unsinkable Molly Brown in St. Louis in 1982, and Pal Joey at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago (on which she also contributed choreography). Miss Reinking toured with several productions through the years, including A Chorus Line and Bye Bye Birdie. She later provided choreography for a 1996 tour of Applause, a 1999 tour of Chicago, The Visit at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, and No Strings at the New York City Centre, among others.

Ann Reinking appeared very infrequently in films and on television. She made her film debut in Movie Movie in 1978. Afterwards she played Kate Jagger in All That Jazz (1979), Grace Farrell in Annie (1982), and Micki Salinger in Micki + Maude (1984). On television she guest starred on Ellery Queen, The Andros Targets, and The Cosby Show, and appeared in the TV movie A Night on the Town.

There can be no doubt that Ann Reinking was one of Broadway's most incredible talents, both as a dancer and a choreographer. Indeed, she won multiple awards throughout her career, everything from the Tony Award to the Drama Desk Award. Few dancers could move quite the way that Ann Reinking did, and her choreography was among the most inventive. As both a dancer and a choreographer, she was certainly remarkable.

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