Ann Reinking: Playful, Refined and With Legs for Days

When I think of Ann Reinking, I see legs. Legs in shimmering black tights. Legs in heels. Legs that extend effortlessly to a 6 o’clock extension. They weren’t the only thing that made her dancing so resplendent, but they were the anchor to her daring. Aside from their shape, they had a strength that rooted her body, giving her pelvic isolations a silky sort of groove and her precision a natural, teasing sensuality. Even stretched out on a bed, her legs could tell a story.

Ms. Reinking, who died in her sleep at 71 while visiting family in Seattle over the weekend, was one of Bob Fosse’s most important dancers and, for a time, his lover. That bed comes into play in a non-dancing scene from Fosse’s semi-autobiographical film “All That Jazz,” in which Ms. Reinking plays a thinly veiled version of herself. In that moment, all she wants is for Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider, in the role based on Fosse) to stop sleeping around.

The dialogue is funny, but her legs steal the scene: Leaning back, she drapes them, bare, across the mattress. Her power is enhanced by her piercing blue eyes and long, glossy dark hair, parted in the middle to ’70s perfection. (Is there anything cooler than a 1970s dancer?) But really, it comes down to those legs.

Ms. Reinking made her career on Broadway and, especially, in the work of Fosse, for whom she was a muse. She met Fosse officially at an audition for “Pippin,” but she was already an admirer of his work. In an interview, speaking about seeing “Chicago,” she said: “I was transfixed. It went beyond interest. I don’t know why it just kept my attention. And it was a quiet roar when they were done.”

Wearing a silky yellow dress — it swirls around her legs like a partner — she begins with a jazzy, playful walk, pausing every few beats for a shoulder shimmy or a whirl. She kicks and wilts like a rag doll. Dashing through a hallway, she hops over a chair, plays the harp with a couple of finger snaps and continues forward, spinning through space as if she’s gliding on wind — blurry, gleaming but indelibly articulate.

What a daredevil! What abandon! In her exuberance, it feels like Ms. Reinking is showing us the sound of laughter. It’s over too soon, but it’s appropriately named: At least in these couple of minutes we have our Annie, too.

Sahred From Source link Arts

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