west side story dance revision

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  • Created by: mquaresma
  • Created on: 27-04-16 12:57

West Side Story






Accompaniment/music: Leonard Bernstein

Choreographer: Jerome Robins


West side story is:

  • American musical/with a book (Anthun Laurents)

  • Inspired by Shakespeare ( Romeo and Juliet)

  • Year Choreographed ­ Stage: 1957, Film: 1961 (The film increased the popularity of the musical because it brought WSS to a wide audience)

  • Story set in the Upper West Side (NY)

  • Musical explores the rivalry between the jets and the sharks ( 2 street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds)

  • The members of the sharks, from Puerto Rico are taunted by the jets a white American gang.

  • The protagonist Tony a former member of the jets and best friends with the leader riff, falls in love with Maria ( Bernardo’s sister , the leader of the sharks)





Main characters:

          The jets                                                       The sharks

  • Riff- jets leader                                  Bernardo – sharks leader

  • Tony- Riffs best friend                      Maria – Bernardo’s sister

    Anita – Bernardo’s girlfriend



Musical Numbers

          Act 1:

  • Prologue- danced by the jets and sharks

  • Jet song – riff and jets

  • Something’s coming – tony

  • The Dance at the gym – Jets and sharks

  • Maria – Tony

  • Tonight – Tony and Maria

  • America – Anita and sharks

  • Cool – Jets

  • One hand, one heart – Tony and Maria

  • The Rumble

Act 2

  • I feel pretty – Maria

  • Somewhere

  • Gee officer knupke – Jets

  • A boy like that – Anita and Maria

  • I have a love – Anita and Maria

  • Taunting – Anita and Jets

  • Finale




Costumes – (shows the different cultures)

• Jets – jeans and tee-shirts with trainers – typical American teenager in the 1950s

• Sharks – chinos and shirts with shoes – typical Puerto Rican teenager in the 1950s


Structure of the dance

  • Narrative ( tells a story, through the dances)

Dance Styles

  • Mambo ( represents the sharks)

  • Jazz ( represents the jets)


Dance Idea/Interpretation

  • Reflects the culture of gang warfare in 1950s America – still relevant to a modern audience

  • Examines the concepts of cultural diversity, racism and youth culture

  • The function of the dance is to introduce the audience to the characters and themes found throughout West Side Story

  • The dance establishes the two gangs, and then becomes more focused on the rivalry between them.




 This long sequence defines in total the marriage of theatrics and plastics that mark WE5T SIDE STORY as a fusion of opera and lyric drama. Note the multiple rhythms (visual, musical, temporal, etc.) produced by the dynamic movement within the frame; the movement of the frame itself; the movement from scene to scene/shot to shot/etc. Note the importance of clicking - the physical production by the body to produce a sound that symbolizes the body's psychological rhythm. (The tempo of clicking throughout the film reflects the rate of adrenalin flow of the character doing the clicking.) The only spoken dialogue through this whole section is "Beat it!" which


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