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Triple Threat For Realz: Broadway’s 5 Unlikeliest Dancers

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They sing! They act! And yeah, they apparently dance, too. Behold Broadway’s newest young crop of… um… hoofers. Or something.

Sutton Foster
Yeah, she danced in Thoroughly Modern Millie. But that’s nothing compared to what she’s up to in Kathleen Marshall’s revival of Anything Goes. The choreography in the show’s barn burner of a title number isn’t exactly complicated, but it’s Sutton’s breezy execution that makes it so winning. And check out her split on the floor late in the second act. Which she does in lingerie. If that’s not worth another Tony Award, I’m not sure what is.

Will Swenson
Your eyes do not deceive you. That is Will Swenson in a dress. And he is dancing. And while Will doesn’t have nearly the workout in Priscilla Queen of the Desert that his costar Nick Adams does, the show still requires that he do more than keep the beat. He does it quite successfully, too.

Aaron Tveit
During Catch Me If You Can’s splashy opening number, I actually gasped. Not at the crazy technicolor costumes and gnarly wigs, but at Aaron Tveit, who apparently… can dance. And in ways that are not embarrassing. A far cry from Gabe’s various abstract, up-in-the-rafters pole dances in Next to Normal, Jerry Mitchell’s choreography summons all of Aaron’s inner razzle dazzle. We like it. We feel like someone’s pulling one over on us—is there a secret body double in that scene?—but we like it.

Norbert Leo Butz
Forget that he’s wearing a fat suit. Forget that he does not look, or in any way seem like a dancer. Norbert Leo Butz is an undercover dancer. In fact, he won an Astaire Award for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels—a show in which his character did not, for the most part, do any actual dancing. So in Catch Me If You Can, it’s not entirely shocking that Norbert carries off the show’s big production number with such panache. In fact, he steals the entire show in that scene, due in no small part to his dancing. Or creative placement of arms. Or entirely insane flailing. Whatever is happening there, it’s awesome.

Daniel Radcliffe
Yeah, you can kinda hear him counting under his breath. But no matter. Dan Radcliffe can dance, baby. Why? Because Dan Radcliffe wants to dance more than anything on earth. And like everyone on this list, he proves that with enough training, crazy things are achievable. In this case, the boy didn’t just live. He tapped off into the sunset.

photo: The Hartman Group

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Linda April 15, 2011, 10:29 am

    Did you see The Drowsy Chaperone? I don’t think you can really call Sutton Foster an unlikely dancer. Just playing devil’s advocate.

  • Amanda April 15, 2011, 12:06 pm

    Yeah, Sutton Foster is the truest bluest triple threat on Broadway. She has danced in many of her starring roles and is clearly A DANCER.

    And one look at Aaron Tveit’s ass says he’s likely a dancer.

  • the mick April 15, 2011, 12:28 pm

    I’ve still never seen Sutton in a musical, so I’m basically clueless.

    But, re: Tveit’s ass– I always assumed that was an athletics thing. Soccer players often have remarkable asses.

  • lucky April 16, 2011, 1:29 am

    I love you gals and I respect your opinions, but Sutton is in no way a dancer. Charlotte D’Amboise is a dancer. Karen Ziemba is a dancer. Sutton is a singer and an actress who has been trained to dance, and she carries it off very well. She’s confident and she looks great up there, but it’s because she works it, not because she’s a talented, or even a natural dancer.

  • Amanda April 16, 2011, 3:49 am

    I defy you to find even five people who agree with you. It says “dancer” on her wikipedia page and IN EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE ABOUT HER. She started taking dance lessons at age 4. On her tombstone it will say “Sutton Foster, Actress/Singer/Dancer.”

    I respect that you’re so tough on this subject, though. I recently had a huge argument on Facebook re: how there are no male triple threats on Broadway. I settled on Matthew Morrison, whom I’m sure you would not say is a triple threat if you don’t think Sutton is, but I mean, my friend thought Raul and Gavin and Bryce Ryness were triple threats. ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR.

  • lucky April 16, 2011, 8:28 am

    Dance lessons do not a John Selya make! Also, to clarify. I do think Sutton is a triple threat. I do NOT think she’s a dancer. Fine line.

    BRYCE RYNESS? This person is on good drugs and I want some.

  • miranda April 16, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I’m offended for Sutton Foster that she was put on a list with a 21yo who legit danced for the first time less than two years ago and did so just so he could be passable in a Broadway musical. Sutton is one of the only Broadway stars of her generation that can successfully handle the kind of dancing that she has done in numerous musicals (which, how is it even possible to not have seen Sutton Foster in a musical?!). The fact that she’s on a list of “unlikely” triple threats? Maybe in 2002 when no one was expecting her, but now? Ouch

    I do understand that you’re mostly using her style as a reason to say she isn’t a dancer, but then you come her to John Selya, who is an entirely different TYPE of dancer (and still managed to look ridiculous in Come Fly Away). Tap is a unique animal to begin with but I’d still say Sutton is a great example of classic Broadway tapper and that alone would make her a dancer.

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