Anita Mann

Choreographer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-and-a-half hour interview, Anita Mann talks about her early years and her favorite dancers growing up. She speaks of appearing as a dancer in the feature films “Bye Bye Birdie” and “The T.A.M.I. Show,” where she worked with James Brown and met fellow dancer Toni Basil. She speaks of dancing on the ABC series Shindig!, and of working with Elvis Presley on several projects, including Elvis: The '68 Comeback Special. She recalls dancing with Davy Jones on The Monkees, and working as the assistant choreographer on The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy with Lucille Ball. Mann discusses dancing for and choreographing The Academy Awards, and choreographing Cher’s solo variety show Cher. She speaks of working on several projects with Jim Henson, including The Fantastic Miss Piggy. She details her time as choreographer on Solid Gold, including what she looked for in a dancer on the show, the process of creating dance steps for the show and keeping them fresh, and being nominated for two Emmy Awards for her work. She concludes with a discussion on how the business has changed since she started, and by giving advice to aspiring choreographers. Nancy Harrington conducted the interview on April 5, 2018 in Santa Monica, CA.

“My passion was television choreography, that’s what I wanted to do. That was always where my wheelhouse was, that’s where I lived. That’s what I love doing. Dancers are one paycheck from homeless, but we don’t care. That’s how we survive.”

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Anita Mann on working with Toni Basil, James Brown, and The Rolling Stones on the feature "The T.A.M.I. Show"
Anita Mann on what she learned from Lucille Ball on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy
Anita Mann on what she looked for when she hired dancers on Solid Gold
Anita Mann on dealing with censorship on Solid Gold, and on witnessing bigotry towards African-American dancers
Anita Mann on becoming assistant to choreographer Jack Baker
Anita Mann on dancing on Shindig!, and on working with Teri Garr on the show
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on dance styles she learned when she first started dancing, and on television shows she watched when growing up; on her favorite style of dance and her favorite dancers growing up
On appearing in the feature film version of "Bye Bye Birdie"; on appearing as a dancer in "The T.A.M.I. Show"; on working with Toni Basil, James Brown, and The Rolling Stones on "The T.A.M.I. Show"
On dancing on Shindig!, and on working with Teri Garr on the show; on the dances on Shindig!, and on the artists who appeared on the show; on appearing on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and on her acting career
On working with Elvis Presley; on becoming assistant to choreographer Jack Baker
On doing choreography for television, and on working for Lucille Ball; on appearing on Elvis: The '68 Comeback Special

Chapter 2

On appearing on The Monkees, and on dancing with Davy Jones; on working as assistant choreographer on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy with Lucille Ball; on her duties as an assistant choreographer
On what she learned from Lucille Ball on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy; on various numbers she worked on on Here's Lucy; on dancing on and choreographing The Academy Awards
On choreographing The Legend of Valentino; on choreographing Cher, and on working with Cher and Bob Mackie; on choreographing The Jacksons and on working with the Jackson family, including Michael Jackson
On working with Jim Henson on "Sesame Street LIVE!"; on the challenges of working with Jim Henson's Muppets
On working with Jim Henson, and on his death; on choreographing The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show, which co-starred Andy Kaufman as "Tony Clifton"

Chapter 3

On becoming involved with Solid Gold; on working with Sold Gold producers Bob Banner and Brad Lachman; on a typical work week choreographing Solid Gold, and on working with the hosts
On what she looked for when she hired dancers on Solid Gold; on the process of working with the Solid Gold Dancers; on keeping the "Solid Gold countdown" fresh, and on the challenge of the range of music
On dealing with censorship on Solid Gold, and on witnessing bigotry towards African-American dancers; on being nominated for two Emmy Awards for Solid Gold; on the legacy of Solid Gold, and comparing it to other music shows like American Bandstand and Shindig
On her process of choreographing a dance number for television, and on choreographing the Miss America Pageant for which she won an Emmy Award; on directing various projects, including Jane Fonda's Lower Body Solution, and on choreography being her first love; on how choreography on television has changed since she started

Chapter 4

On how choreography on television has changed since she first started; on facing discrimination in the industry as a woman; on her proudest career achievement and biggest career regrets
On advice to an aspiring choreographer; on how she would like to be remembered and b-roll pictures including the Solid Gold Dancers and "The Great Muppet Caper" poster
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Anita Mann on dancing on and choreographing The Academy Awards

Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet, The

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Anita Mann on appearing on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and on her acting career

Cher

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Anita Mann on choreographing Cher, and on working with Cher and Bob Mackie

Elvis: The '68 Comeback Special aka Singer Presents Elvis

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Anita Mann on appearing on Elvis: The '68 Comeback Special

Fantastic Miss Piggy Show, The

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Anita Mann on choreographing The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show, which co-starred Andy Kaufman as "Tony Clifton" and John Ritter

Here's Lucy

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Anita Mann on working as assistant choreographer on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy with Lucille Ball
Anita Mann on what she learned from Lucille Ball on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy
Anita Mann on various numbers she worked on on Here's Lucy

Jacksons, The

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Anita Mann on choreographing The Jacksons and on working with the Jackson family, including Michael Jackson

Jane Fonda's Workout Videos

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Anita Mann on directing various projects, including Jane Fonda's Lower Body Solution, and on choreography being her first love

Legend of Valentino, The

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Anita Mann on choreographing The Legend of Valentino

Lucy Show, The

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Anita Mann on working as assistant choreographer on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy with Lucille Ball
Anita Mann on working with Lucille Ball on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy

Miss America Pageant

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Anita Mann on choreographing the Miss America Pageant for which she won an Emmy Award

Monkees, The

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Anita Mann on appearing on The Monkees, and on dancing with Davy Jones

Shindig

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Anita Mann on dancing on Shindig!, and on working with Teri Garr on the show
Anita Mann on the dances on Shindig!, and on the artists who appeared on the show

Solid Gold

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Anita Mann on becoming involved with Solid Gold in the middle of its second season
Anita Mann on working with Sold Gold producers Bob Banner and Brad Lachman
Anita Mann on a typical workweek choreographing Solid Gold, and on working with the hosts
Anita Mann on what she looked for when she hired dancers on Solid Gold
Anita Mann on the process of working with the Solid Gold Dancers
Anita Mann on keeping the "Solid Gold countdown" fresh, and on the challenge of the range of music
Anita Mann on dealing with censorship on Solid Gold, and on dealing with bigotry towards African-American dancers
Anita Mann on being nominated for two Emmy Awards for Solid Gold
Anita Mann on the legacy of Solid Gold, and comparing it to other music shows like American Bandstand and Shindig!
Topics

Advice

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Anita Mann on advice to an aspiring choreographer

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Anita Mann on dealing with censorship on Solid Gold, and on witnessing bigotry towards African-American dancers

Civil Rights Movement

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Anita Mann on witnessing bigotry towards African-American dancers

Diversity in Television

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Anita Mann on witnessing bigotry towards African-American dancers
Anita Mann on witnessing bigotry towards African-American dancers
Anita Mann on facing discrimination in the industry as a woman

Emmy Awards

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Anita Mann on being nominated for two Emmy Awards for Solid Gold
Anita Mann on choreographing the Miss America Pageant for which she won an Emmy Award

Historic Events and Social Change

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Anita Mann on witnessing bigotry towards African-American dancers
Anita Mann on facing discrimination in the industry as a woman

Television Industry

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Anita Mann on witnessing bigotry towards African-American dancers
Anita Mann on how choreography on television has changed since she started
Anita Mann on advice to an aspiring choreographer

Women

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Anita Mann on facing discrimination in the industry as a woman
Professions

Dancer/Choreographer

View Profession
Anita Mann on doing choreography for television, and what she learned from working for Lucille Ball
Anita Mann on her duties as an assistant choreographer
Anita Mann on her process of choreographing a number for television, and on choreographing the Miss America Pageant for which she won an Emmy Award
Anita Mann on how choreography on television has changed since she started
Anita Mann on what she looked for when she hired dancers on Solid Gold
Anita Mann on how choreography on television has changed since she first started
Anita Mann on what she enjoys about choreography
Anita Mann on advice to an aspiring choreographer

Performers

View Profession
Anita Mann on doing choreography for television, and what she learned from working for Lucille Ball
Anita Mann on her duties as an assistant choreographer
Anita Mann on her process of choreographing a number for television, and on choreographing the Miss America Pageant for which she won an Emmy Award
Anita Mann on how choreography on television has changed since she started
Anita Mann on what she looked for when she hired dancers on Solid Gold
Anita Mann on how choreography on television has changed since she first started
Anita Mann on what she enjoys about choreography
Anita Mann on advice to an aspiring choreographer
Genres

Awards Shows

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Anita Mann on dancing on and choreographing The Academy Awards

Children's Programming

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Anita Mann on working with Jim Henson on various Muppet projects including The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show

Comedy Series

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Anita Mann on appearing on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and on her acting career
Anita Mann on appearing on The Monkees, and on dancing with Davy Jones
Anita Mann on working as assistant choreographer on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy with Lucille Ball

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Anita Mann on appearing as a dancer on "The T.A.M.I. Show"
Anita Mann on dancing on Shindig!
Anita Mann on appearing on Elvis: The '68 Comeback Special
Anita Mann on choreographing Cher, and on working with Cher and Bob Mackie
Anita Mann on choreographing The Jacksons and on working with the Jackson family, including Michael Jackson
Anita Mann on working with Jim Henson on various Muppet projects including The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show
Anita Mann on choreographing Solid Gold
Anita Mann on choreographing the Miss America Pageant for which she won an Emmy Award

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Anita Mann on choreographing The Legend of Valentino
People

Lucille Ball

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Anita Mann on doing choreography for television, and on working for Lucille Ball
Anita Mann on working as assistant choreographer on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy with Lucille Ball

Bob Banner

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Anita Mann on working with Sold Gold producers Bob Banner and Brad Lachman

Cher

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Anita Mann on choreographing Cher, and on working with Cher and Bob Mackie

Jane Fonda

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Anita Mann on directing various projects, including Jane Fonda's Lower Body Solution, and on choreography being her first love

Teri Garr

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Anita Mann on dancing on Shindig!, and on working with Teri Garr on the show

Jim Henson

View Person Page
Anita Mann on working with Jim Henson on various Muppet projects, and on "Sesame Street LIVE!"
Anita Mann on the challenges of working with Jim Henson's Muppets
Anita Mann on working with Jim Henson, and on his death

Michael Jackson

View Person Page
Anita Mann on choreographing The Jacksons and on working with the Jackson family, including Michael Jackson

Brad Lachman

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Anita Mann on working with Sold Gold producers Bob Banner and Brad Lachman

Bob Mackie

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Anita Mann on choreographing Cher, and on working with Cher and Bob Mackie

Elvis Presley

View Person Page
Anita Mann on working with Elvis Presley
Anita Mann on appearing on Elvis: The '68 Comeback Special

All Interviews

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