When Dance Gets Under A Guy's Skin!
Clowning around in Lillian Jasper's Dance Studio. McKeesport, PA. 1953
First Equity job in "Oklahoma" 1953
With Becky Barksdale in "Panama Hattie" Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera 1954.
Broadway debut in "Li'l Abner" 1956
First featured role in "West Side Story" 1957
Jet Song from "West Side Story" 1958
TV appearance with Chita Rivera and Kelly Brown. 1958
Appeared as "Andrew" in Frank Loesser musical, "Greenwillow" 1959
Coca-Cola campaign ad. 1959
Appeared with Patricia Harty in Noel Coward's musical, "Sail Away." 1960
Dance Magazine cover story. July, 1960.
Appeared with Sheila Forbes in London production of "Sail Away." 1961
In 1953, a skinny young tapper from McKeesport, PA boarded a bus for New York with $130 in his pocket and a desire to see if he could land a job on Broadway. It never occurred to him that he would soon be featured as 'Snowboy' in the original company of 'West Side Story,' be discovered by Noel Coward for a leading role in 'Sail Away,' be fired by Agnes de Mille in New York, swim with Esther Williams on CBS' first color broadcast in Hollywood, beat out Dustin Hoffman for an acting role on a daytime soap, co-star with Gene Kelly in 'The Young Girls Of Rochefort', or be acknowledged with a Tony nomination for his direction of Broadway's 'The Magic Show.' All of this was in store for the skinny young tapper who grew up in a 3-room shack on a dirt road in McKeesport, PA.
1953. Fresh off the bus, Grover Dale showed up at Bob Fosse's audition for "The Pajama Game." Thinking it was okay to dance in the back row, Grover was confident that good dancers get noticed no matter where they’re located. He was wrong. Fosse didn’t notice him. Grover learned a lesson.
Inexperience hid him from Bob Fosse, but it didn't get in the way of being cast by Michael Kidd in 1955 for "L'il Abner." Nor did it keep him from being noticed by Jerome Robbins the following year for “West Side Story.” Forsaking his tendency to dance in the background, Grover got himself front and center. He was cast as ‘Snowboy’ by the legendary Robbins. Five days after signing a contract, Grover arrived at the first rehearsal with Snowboy's eight lines of dialogue memorized. He assumed that was the only preparation necessary. Once again, Grover had more lessons to learn.
Overwhelmed by Robbins' demand for acting skills, Grover realized he was in trouble. Applying "objectives" was an unfamiliar task. Keeping his role challenged every resource he had. By the time WSS completed the tryout in Philadelphia, Grover's job was no longer at risk. His name was added to the featured players on the show’s poster.
WSS was a turning point. In the years that followed, Grover grasped the idea that preparing for the next opportunity never stops. There's always a new skill to be learned. That idea became the basis for the educational platform he passed on to generations of newcomers.
Exposure to choreographers like Jack Cole, Joe Layton, Tony Charmoli, Michael Bennett, Peter Gennaro, Gwen Verdon, Onna White, Graciela Daniele, Herbert Ross, Ann Reinking, Rob Marshall, Susan Stroman, and Gillian Lynne gave Grover as many opportunities as a dancer could wish for. Today, he's acknowledged, not only for professional achievements, but for his jump-starting so many dance careers through his writing.
Enjoy this clip from Grover's first movie role in 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown':
* Launched his own studio at the age of 15. 1950
* Appeared on the cover of Dance Magazine, July, 1960
* Choreo'd the play "Steambath" at the Truck & Warehouse Theatre, 1970
* Wrote title song & choreographed film of "So Fine," 1980
* Founded L.A. Dance Foundation / Dance & Fitness Magazine, 1991
* Danced in Disney's TV musical "Geppetto" 2000
* Appeared at SYTYCD celebration of National Dance Day at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Taught Mary Murphy's salsa routine. July 2011
Appeared in MGM's "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" w/ Debbie Reynolds. 1963
"I Ain't Down Yet" number from "Unsinkable Molly Brown" 1963
"Money To Burn" number from "Half A Sixpence" 1964
Co-starred with Catherine Deneuve in "The Young Girls Of Rochefort" 1966
Co-starred with George Chakiris in "The Young Girls Of Rochefort" 1966
Film version of "Half A Sixpence" 1967
Choreographed "Eubie Blake" special 1981
Photographed with Anita Morris and son James. 1982
"If The Shoe Fits" in Los Angeles. 1992
Appeared with Carol Lawrence in L.A. production of "Follies." 2002
Professional Audition Workshop. 2002.
Fine tuning dancers at audition workshop. 2001.
Speedance workshop session. 2001.