Ernest Belcher: not just a funny name

Ok so you know how the Adult Beginner did this post not too long ago about the Pavlova book?
Including this picture?

And maybe you remember how the Adult Beginner was totally immature and giggling about this dude’s name?
Well, ok, that post received a comment from Emily, and she was all, Wow, what a great find! And included this link
You guys, O. M. G.
Omg you guys seriously omg.
In a fit of My-Head-Asplode I started googling Ernest Belcher left and right and found his IMDb page. Yeah: he was in The Jazz Singer. And did choreo. The Jazz Singer! The first talkie! Ever! Wtf?!!!
He was Marge Champion’s father, who you don’t think you know but you So Do know because she was the model for Snow White. You know, the groundbreaking Disney animated film. Read some fun stories online of her describing the animation process, stumbling and pushing through a room full of ropes hanging from coat hangers, which became the vines and branches of the scary forest Snow White runs through.
Here’s a great quote from a Los Angeles Times articleby Susan King, titled Marge Champion Still Has The Dance Moves:
Champion also went on to model for the Blue Fairy in 1940’s “Pinocchio” and the Dancing Hippo in “Fantasia.” And she even married one of the Disney animators, Art Babbitt, one month shy of her 18th birthday. “I was married to him for a very short time. When I went to New York with the Three Stooges in a vaudeville show in 1939, he said come back to Los Angeles and have babies. But that wasn’t what I had studied 15 years for.”
Oh snap, Art Babbitt!
And that’s not all: Ernest Belcher started a school in Los Angeles called the Celeste School of Dance, where one of his students was Maria Tallchief.
Maria Tallchief who is my favorite old school ballerina for completely superficial reasons: she is of Osage descent, went to Beverly Hills High School, married Balanchine, and was the first American to dance with the Paris Opera Ballet in Paris and in Moscow, and upon her return to New York she became America’s first prima ballerina.
Ok maybe those aren’t superficial reasons at all. But, like, I’ve never seen film of her dancing. Should get on that.
So, like, wow, right?
And there I was just making fun of Ernest Belcher’s name. What am I, twelve?! Sheesh.
Anyway, the moral of this story is that Los Angeles is an amazing place, which I figure out more and more all the time. I mean seriously, when I first moved here I felt very temporary, like I was definitely just going work here for a little while and then get the hell outta here and go someplace where people weren’t constantly trying to kill me with their cars and then Bam! Outta no where I find out things like Stravinsky used to hang out with my ballet teacher’s father at that creepy Denny’s in Hollywood and the book I just picked up for ten bucks at my fave used book store was a gift to a very important teacher and choreographer and dancer from his “employees” which might mean his students, his dancers, crew from a show, or maybe the quotation marks are just for emphasis and they really were his employees. Who knows, that part’s still a mystery.
And the other moral is that I need to google everything from now on.
And super big thanks to Emily for bringing this to my attention.
Oh and please note, if you are in LA and you go to my fave bookstore, they have recently downgraded the dance section from three shelves to one. Probably because I Bought All The Books!!!!
Just wow.
I have to go soak my head.

About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
Aside | This entry was posted in Bark! Bark! Bark!, Books!, Movies, tv, and live stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Ernest Belcher: not just a funny name

  1. loveablestef says:

    Wow! That is fantastical. Thanks for sharing. So interesting.

  2. Jeff says:

    WOW! Head. a. splode. That is so fascinating.

  3. Nellie says:

    My mind is blown. That is beyond awesome.

  4. lalatina says:

    Oh- wow. Amazing :O

  5. Emily says:

    So cool to own piece of ballet history. I wonder if Smirnoff knew Mr Belcher or his “employees”…
    And thanks for the shout-out, I definitely geeked out a little :D

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