Who’s Who in the West: A Biographical Dictionary of Noteworthy Men and Women of the Pacific Coast and the Western States

A chorus line is a well-known auditorium through which we can have a foretaste of personalities of the performers. In a chorus line, artists tend to describe the compelling occasions that have modeled or have had an impact on their lives and their resolution to become dancers. Consequently, we can imagine the character of every performer. Michael Bennett came up with the idea of a chorus Line in 1975 (Greenberg 145).In association with the top theater artists and some other performers, Michael Bennett introduced the idea of chorus dancers to life on stage. A chorus line was a musical that was performed on a very simple background mainly known as bare Broadway stage. The dancers would pass their stories by way of singing and dance.The idea of Michael Bennett’s ‘A chorus Line’ has been welcomed by many people across the globe. Silver Belles, a group of dancers formed in 1985, embraced the chorus line platform., The Silver Belles was a group of sixteen female dancers from the New York., The group would perform in concerts as well as in festivals (Summers 22).Moreover, the group is well known to have composed the Apollo Chorus Line and won the award for the best New York female dancers.

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In a chorus line, the performers are so natural in the sense that they try to express themselves in a way that shows that they are out to gain some earning to better their lives. Moreover, the idea of a chorus line does not necessarily call for much formal training. According to the happenings of 1985, the 88-year-old Marion Coles got to know the dance by the name, ballroom, through her mother without having to go through any training before. In addition, Cleo’s who is 89 years old travels to Chicago from Mississippi not even knowing how to dance but in pursuit to improve her way of living. Moreover, aged 84, Fay, who is also a dancer is raised up from a simple setting. She is brought up in cotton firms where she grew up picking cotton at the farms. It can, therefore, be deduced that the idea of a chorus line is far much embraced the class of the aged, and moreover by a class from simple backgrounds.However, in the past, gender discrimination is prevalent. This consequently has an impact on the chorus line dancers. Gender discrimination that is also termed as sexism refers to discrimination or prejudice based on one’s gender or sex. Sexual discrimination attitudes may stem from such factors as stereotypes of gender roles; that may include the belief that an individual of a certain gender is more superior to a person of the opposite gender or sex. This is a vice that should be stemmed out of the society as it has many consequences if left to blossom. For example, excessive gender-based discrimination may lead to vices like rape, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual exploitation (Stern 22).

However, women are seen to have fallen victims of gender-based discrimination since the prehistory. During the early times, women were discriminated by rules and guidelines set in their society’s cultures and traditions. For example, women were believed to be more likely to practice witchcraft. Women suspected of the same could be subjected to violence, prosecuted and executed by the different relevant administration in the affected areas. Empirical studies have shown that among the most shared cultural beliefs is that men are more socially valued and that men are more competent than their female counterpart in different activities. For example, during the early times and even today most of the Americans believe that a man is expected to be decisive, direct, stoic, strong, athletic, brave and self-driven.

On the other hand, a woman is expected to be nurturing, affectionate, emotional, forgiving and home oriented.

In the modern society, the female gender has been discriminated in area such as the education whereby male are seen to be given a priority as far as education is concerned. In addition, women are believed to have not the capacity to venture in individual educational disciplines such as sciences. Women are also discriminated places of work whereby though they perform the same type of job as compared to their male counterpart, there is a disparity in the remunerations.In the advertising industry, women have also been used as tools to market different products. For example, to advertise different type of soups and makeups, in most times women are pictured being half naked also women have been used in sexual movies such as pornography where they are photographed and presented as objects of pleasure and men sexual fulfillment thus degrading them. The condition becomes worse when women enter jobs that are believed to be male dominated. This research paper focuses on the role of women in the art industry, how they were once discriminated against and how through their efforts have revolutionized the music industry especially the tap dance. In this research paper, Rachel Benzing’s article of 2012, “Heels and Gumption: Tap Dance Empowered by Women.” is referenced.

This research paper is a comparison of a chorus line (as described in Rachel Benzing’s article) with happenings of 1985 especially surrounding race, class and gender.This article is about tap dance, a type of dance that has been empowered by women. In 1930s and Apollo Theatre Chorus Line dancers were mistreated by been offered very little pay after performing several shares. The author describes the Apollo Theatre Chorus Line dancers not only talented but also very hard working. For example, they worked on ten ‘o clock in the morning until eleven ‘o clock at night, performing four to six shows each, an indication that the dancers were totally devoted to work.

Despite their hard work and talent that marketed the Apollo Theatre, they used to get peanuts for their salary. Their salary is only paid twenty dollars a week, barely enough to help meet their personal needs. This went to the extent of forcing them to carry out demonstrations. On February 23, 1940 the Apollo theatre Chorus line dancers walked out of the theatre. This event is remarkable as was the first strike in the history of America for African-American performers, both male and female. They marched up and down the streets performing a protest type of song with picket signs.

According to the famous and proud dancer, Bertye, that night after the strike, the Apollo Theatre was unable to hold its show, all because of the influence that the chorus girls had. This strike was of great success since their demands were met within fourteen days after the attack. Their salaries were increased up to twenty-five dollars, the same as the girls at the Cotton Club. As a particular dance critic wrote the New York Times, the Apollo Chorus girls were the soul and heart of the show (Heel and Gumption 8). It is this achievement that revolutionized the tap dance. When compared to the happenings of 1985 where the ladies have become the queens of the tap music, there is a very big distinction in that; during the early 1930s the Chorus Line Apollo Theatre Chorus Line were fighting for recognition while in 1985, the society has accepted. They are now the leaders in the tap dance industry and the community as recognized the fact ladies can perform better even than their male counterparts (Benzing, 4).In deduction, the idea of a chorus Line is not so much pronounced as people are familiar with auditions. People are familiar with observing performers express everything on the line. This is prevalent in the American Idol show. Moreover, many people have been used to the statement “So You Think You Can Dance’’ However, the young group today still appreciates A Chorus Line show in that the performers audition with an intention of securing themselves a job and not to earn fame. Moreover, education is very much advocated in A Chorus Line show. Teachers are as well seen to have a great impact on the lives of the performers.


Stern, Keith. Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders. Dallas, Tex: BenBella, 2009. Internet resource.Heel And Gumption’. (2014): n. pag. Print.

Summers, Claude J. The Queer Encyclopedia of Music, Dance, & Musical Theater. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2004. Print.

Greenberg, Joseph H. Grammar. Stanford, Calif: Stanford Univ. Press, 2000. Print.

Who’s Who in the West: A Biographical Dictionary of Noteworthy Men and Women of the Pacific Coast and the Western States. Chicago: A.N. Marquis Co, 1949. Print.

The Friends of Wine. Silver Spring, Md: Les Amis du Vin, 1975. Print.

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