IntroductionIn this report I am going to be looking at Bob fosse’s

Topics: Dance


In this report I am going to be looking at Bob fosse’s work and how he was influenced along the way. Bob fosse uses elements of of light and dark choreography and direction within his musicals but all of them have a secret dark undertone that really brings the choreography to life. I am therefore going against the statement. I will be explaining this by using two musicals as examples and show how his childhood and influences potentially affected his work.

Bob fosse had the great opportunity of being able to put his choreography into many different musicals and I will be showing the social, technical and political climate and how that changed his choreography and affected the way he grew up.

Why I chose this practitioner

I chose Bob Fosse as my practitioner because I believe that he was a really interesting choice as when he first started showing his choreography to the world a lot then changed.

His choreography and style of dance was something that people had never seen before and it really changed the dance industry in many different ways. I chose him because he also has really good examples that go against the statement. Bob was able to choreograph for all different types of shows but still bring in his certain style of dance. Whether the musical have a dark or light theme, there was always a way he could make it work. [1] “Within his musicals and choreography he was well known for his light comedic story-lines within a darker and more-introspective plots”(Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019).

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I really like how Bob fosse always has a true meaning behind his choreography. Bob fosse was mostly known for his certain style of dance and his musical influences such as Chicago (1975) and Cabaret (1966). Which really brought a different genre to the jazz style as a whole. When these musicals first came out there was not a lot of technology and equipment available so therefore it really had to be about the stripped back singing and dancing in able to bring the show to life. So somehow Bob Fosse had to think of a way to really engage the audience and keep them entertained. He was bringing in new choreography that everyone seemed to love. The choreography in itself was so endearing that he was able to do so, not that anyone would have known any different then. Furthermore I have chose Bob fosse as my practitioner as throughout his journey of becoming a choreography he has had to work through many different economic states and he has a very interesting background and seems to have been influenced by many things.

Evaluation of the practitioners work

In Bob Fosse lifetime he has accomplished many things. Not only choreographing for some of the most successful musicals but also directing many of them and winning several awards. Bob fosse’s choreography was known for being something that had never been done before. He had a very unique style and it really attracted many people. That’s why he was so successful. Bob fosse was able to accomplish anything. In his life he has choreographed and worked on over 30 musicals/films, all of a different storyline, genre and style.

Examples of their work and how they relate to the statement

Looking at Bobs work they’re are many options to choose from as he has completed many jobs but I am going to be looking at two different musicals. Chicago 1975 and Pippin 1972. These musicals both which Bob directed and choreographed are very opposing and each show his choreography in two different lights. Proving that he is able to accomplish both light and dark entertainment. Obviously Bob has his own style and is able to use that within different plots. For example, [2]”his clever angular groupings of dancers and fresh stylistically exaggerated staging.”(Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019) The musicals helped establish Fosse’s reputation as an inventive choreographer. Bobs fosse’s choreography, many of which were sensual in nature, frequently featured props,chairs, canes, and bowler hats. Most of the time his costumes where also extremley sexualised with the women in high rise leotards, heels and fishnet tights. [3]”His signature moves included turned-in knees, the sideways shuffle, rolled shoulders, and the splayed-finger shaking “jazz hand.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019)Fosse also utilized the spotlight to guide and manipulate audience attention. His pieces included boys and girls and was very sexualised and provocative. Chicago is an example of one of his most well known musicals as the choreography is an extremely big part in this show, best shown in the number ‘cell block tango’. Pippin on the other hand is not as much about the sexualised movements. Even though you can still tell that it is Bob’s choreography it is more about the different shapes created and the movements that are created especially in the peice ‘glory’. It is obvious that Bob was able to use his choreography but change it up a lot making it work for whatever musical he is working on. It is not until the end that two girls come out in fishnet tights that is seen as provocative at all. Pippin as a whole has a very different theme to chicago. In the musical pippin the ensemble cast tells the story of Pippin, a young prince who longs to find passion and adventure in his life, the musical uses the premise of a mysterious performance troupe, led by a Leading Player, to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for meaning and significance. The musical is light hearted and is able to show fosse’s choreography in a very different way than chicago. In Chicago a women named Velma murders her philandering husband, and Chicago’s best lawyer, Billy Flynn , is set to defend her. But when Roxie also winds up in prison, Billy takes on her case as well, turning her into a media circus of headlines. Neither woman will be outdone in their fight against each other and the public for fame and celebrity. Chicago and Pippin both have great storylines that are very opposing but each work out very well with the choreography. Within both musicals Bobs choreography is used and shown differently. Proving that he is able to direct and choreograph both light and dark entertainment.

The practitioners influences – the social, political, economical and technological influence on each piece

During the time when Bob fosse was at his peak their was a lot of political crisis going on and many technological changes which I don’t believe affected his work too much. As he was probably so focused on his work. Bob Fosse’s work did not seem to be heavily influenced by the current events occurring during his time. For example, all of World War II, an obvious, important historical event with extensive consequences, took place while Fosse was in his prime. He even served in the war! He enlisted in the Navy after high school, but World War II ended soon after he arrived at bootcamp. Fosse completed his two years of duty and made his way to the Big Apple to pursue his performing career. However, his entertainment work during World War II did not seem to have any bearing on the works that he choreographed and directed after his service at least not in any political way. If Fosse’s World War II service had any effect on his development, it would have only come in the form of providing him with a free space to practice and perfect his talents. Technology at the time was obviously no where near as evolved as now, and this definitely shows in his work. In the number cell block tango from chicago it really wasn’t based around the effects. Maybe low lighting and some spotlights but it was basic. In pippin their is not a lot of major lighting as it just wasn’t as common then, it is mostly the same throughout the show. Even though back then music and audio wasn’t as good quality both Pippin and Chicago both have great soundtracks and even without all of the technology they were both still successful musicals. Fosse was initially influenced by the work of Jack Cole, Fred Astaire, and Jerome Robbins, Fosse was fluent in many different styles. In Redhead alone he incorporated elements of the ballet, jazz, march, cancan, gypsy dance, and the traditional English music-hall.

How did the practitioner and their work have an influence on others

Bob fosse was very well known in his time, and at the time as I stated earlier WW2 was happening so people could have potentially seen Bobs new style as a way of finding happiness or getting through the war. Since the style ‘Fosse’ became a thing many people have taken it and used it within their choreography whether that be classes or shows. Even to this day. For example- dance classes that I take can sometimes be fosse style or a similar type of movement. Furthermore Fosse has directed and choreographed many different musicals and films that are still very well know to this day. At this current moment in time ‘Chicago’ is going on tour and I was luckily enough to be able to see it and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved watching his style of dance and how it has been translated to this day.

How their influences and pieces connect and relate to the statement.

As I stated earlier in Bob fosse’s prime time, WW2 was happening which potentially caused not only a low moral but issues with the economy. Whilst the war was happening, there was a lot of issues with not only finding work but just in general trying to get money. So whilst bob was in training he tried his very best to look for jobs no matter how light hearted. He made it clear that he was not going to let anything bring him down even if it was the war. People at the time found going to comedic performances or pantomimes etc as a way of escaping the war, and found that it would free their mind of all the chaos at the time.

What is your research, evidence and rationale for or against the statement. (Do you agree or disagree and why)

I completely disagree with the statement. As I have proven many of times Bob was able to do a mixture of work, whether that be light or dark. I Don’t believe the statement is true. Obviously people have their preferences on the type of work that they want to do, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t do any other type of work. In this case Bob was obviously more drawn to the darker natured type of pieces but he was also able to direct and choreograph musicals like pippin. Another example is the well know musical director Tim Minchin. With one of his most well known musicals being Matilda. That is very light hearted but it doesn’t mean that he is not able to create darker pieces.


In conclusion after looking into not only Bob Fosse’s influences but that work that has been successful for him I do not agree with the statement because of my reasons above. The statement could potentially be true with certain practitioners but in most cases is not true in my opinion.


[1]Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Bob Fosse | Biography, Musicals, Movies, & Facts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Sep. 2018].

[2]Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Bob Fosse | Biography, Musicals, Movies, & Facts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Sep. 2018].

[3]Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Bob Fosse | Biography, Musicals, Movies, & Facts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Sep. 2018].

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IntroductionIn this report I am going to be looking at Bob fosse’s. (2019, Nov 22). Retrieved from

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