Dance scenes in movies can be tricky, but sometimes magical |

Dance scenes in movies can be tricky, but sometimes magical

Oscar front-runner "La La Land" opens with a bang, or should we say a burst — of leaps and pirouettes, not to mention bicycles sashaying along the roofs of automobiles. It's not easy to stage a successful dance scene for the cameras — especially on a highway interchange — but when such a scene works, it can be memorable.

One secret, says "La La Land" choreographer Mandy Moore, is not to compete with the camera, but in a sense, to find a way to dance WITH it. "When it's done right, it's this perfect marriage of how the camera is moving in conjunction and collaboration with the movement of the dancer," she says.

Dancing on a stage is three-dimensional; on a screen, you lose an entire dimension. But what you can do is use the camera to convey emotion in a dancer in ways you can't onstage. "You can see how dance changes the person — that's a key," says Wendy Perron, former editor in chief of Dance Magazine and author of "Through the Eyes of a Dancer."

Because everyone has their favorite dance moments in movies, and because the Oscars are coming, and because, hey, it's just fun to remember this stuff (all available online), here are a few scenes where the cameras helped create dance magic:


"I'm in heaven," Fred Astaire sings to Ginger Rogers, warbling Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" in the 1935 film "Top Hat." And so are we. "Fred is so cool and she's so coy," Moore notes, adding that the scene is so successful because it tells a story through movement. "They're almost a little icy the way they start, and then just this beautiful way that they open up through the performance, and they're just so free and gorgeous through dancing together," she says. Check out those swoon-worthy twirling lifts toward the end.


There's some real gymnastics in the rip-roaring choreography by Michael Kidd in the 1954 film, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." The big dance in the barn — with guys competing for the gals — is a showstopper. Moore loves that this dance story is told without lyrics. "These days, we're so used to being spoon-fed what we're supposed to feel," she says. Check out that guy on the spinning log, not to mention what can best be described as a balance beam routine that includes arm-wrestling.


Of course, Kelly's rain-drenched virtuoso performance in the title song of "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) is a wonder — especially when you consider that, according to movie lore, he had a bad cold and fever. Then there are Donald O'Connor's athletics — including wall-climbing somersaults — in "Make 'Em Laugh." But let's consider the recently departed Debbie Reynolds, who at age 19 had no dance training, and somehow held her own, expertly tapping away with Kelly and O'Connor in the joyous "Good Morning" — which she has said made her feet bleed.


There's no debating the brilliance of Jerome Robbins' choreography for "West Side Story" (1961). But which dance scene gets top billing? For Moore, it's that opening with the Jets and Sharks and those snapping fingers. "You just do that snap and a little jump and everybody instantly knows it's 'West Side Story,'" she says. For Perron, it's the Mambo dance at the gym, where Maria (Natalie Wood) and Tony (Richard Beymer) fall in love. Especially that cinematic moment "when all the others blur out, and Tony and Maria come into focus, and it's just an amazing falling-in-love moment. The music slows down, and there's an inevitability about their coming together and ignoring the whole world."


You can dispute the overall quality of the 1985 "White Nights," but here's one thing you can't dispute: the dancing prowess of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines. The two, who both play defectors (it's complicated), have silly dialogue but compelling dancing, together and apart. And, if you only have two minutes on your hands, search for "Baryshnikov" and "11 pirouettes." For 11 rubles, he does what is really one single pirouette with 11 revolutions — perfectly. In street clothes.


They're doing a high-profile "Mary Poppins" sequel, but for many it will be hard to match some of the memories of the 1964 original, like Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke dancing in "Step in Time" — that joyful chimney sweep scene on the London rooftops. "It takes the dirty, sooty experience of working on chimneys and makes it magical," says Perron.


You gotta hand it to John Travolta, who's provided more than his share of lasting dance memories. First there was "Saturday Night Fever" (1977), where the actor earned big-screen fame as Tony Manero, king of the disco floor and champion of the strut. Only a year later he tore up the gym floor in "Grease," co-starring Olivia Newton-John. And in 1994, there was that understated — but unforgettable — twist contest with Uma Thurman in "Pulp Fiction."


No one leaves Baby off a list. Before Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling did "La La Land," they did "Crazy, Stupid, Love," (2011) in which they recreated the famous "Dirty Dancing" lift made famous by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in 1987. You know the one. Enough said.


If you watch one dance clip, let it be this: the Nicholas Brothers, Fayard and Harold, in their have-to-see-it-to-believe-it performance in "Stormy Weather" (1943). It's not just that the brothers, who overcame racial hurdles to earn fame for their astounding talent, tap and twirl and jump onto tables; they jump into full splits, too, in moves that look like they'd be horribly painful. At the end, they leapfrog over each other down a staircase, landing in splits each time. And then they get up and smile. "They're unstoppable," says Perron. "And they make it look so much fun."

Truckee is filled with fascinating historic places

Few towns in northeastern California are as picturesque or historic as the community of Truckee, located 35 miles west of Reno.

Originally known as Gray's Station or Coburn's Station, a stagecoach stop, the site was renamed Truckee in 1868 when a formal town was laid out by the Central Pacific Railroad, which was building its part of the transcontinental railroad through the area.

The name honored Captain Truckee, a Nevada Paiute leader who had guided explorer John C. Fremont on his 1843-44 travels through the region.

In its early years, Truckee became noted as not only a railroad stop but also for its lumber and ice harvesting (before the invention of the electric refrigerator most people had ice boxes that used real ice to keep food cold) industries.

In the late nineteenth century, tourists discovered the scenic village in the mountains and started coming by train to partake in the-then new sport of downhill snow skiing.

Today's visitors will find a number of historic sites and structures from Truckee's early years can still be found in the town.

For instance, one local landmark is an unusual fourteen-sided, metal tower that sits on a hill overlooking the town. The tower, erected in 1893, was once part of a magnificent home (which burned down in 1931) built by Charles Fayette McGlashan, who was editor of the local newspaper and author of "The History of the Donner Party."

The tower encloses Truckee's famous "Rocking Stone." According to Indian legend, the 17-ton rocking stone—which is balanced on top of another larger stone base—was placed there by the gods to scare off birds who tried to steal meat that was drying on top of the larger rock. Any movement, even the wind, would make it rock and frighten the birds.

Today, the rocking stone, one of only 25 such stones in the world, no longer moves much, but you can still view it and read about the legend.

There are also a number historic homes and other buildings found in the town. A free historic walking map of the downtown can be found on the Truckee Chamber of Commerce web site (

Among the historic places still found in Truckee is an old log cabin, known as Uncle Joe's Cabin, that is the town's oldest structure. Built in 1863, it was part of the original Gray's Station and was originally located on the southwest corner of Jibboom and Bridge streets. In 1907, it was moved to its present site at 10030 Church Street and has been renovated several times over the years.

About a block south of Joe's Cabin is the historic Truckee Hotel, an impressive three-story wooden structure built in 1868. First known as the American Hotel, it has been renovated many times over the years, including a major restoration in 1977. It continues to serve as a hotel and restaurant.

Truckee's main street, called Commercial Row, is lined with other historic, frontier facades. Most, such as the Odd Fellows Hall and the Capitol Building, date to the 1870s and 1880s. Across from the business district is the railroad depot, restored in 1986 and home of the Downtown Visitors Center.

Other noteworthy historic structures include the Richardson House at 10154 High Street, which was built in 1871 by a lumber company owner. The beautiful Victorian was restored a few years ago and as been a bed and breakfast since 1981.

Another old-timer is the Star Hotel on West River Street, south of the railroad tracks, which was built in 1867 as a boarding house for employees of the Schaffer Lumber Company, which owned the first sawmill in the area.

Just west of the Star Hotel is the Swedish House, originally used as a boarding house for ice cutters, which was erected in 1885. Actor Charlie Chaplin stayed in the building, while making his classic film, "The Gold Rush," in the area.

North of Commercial Row is the Truckee Jail Museum, constructed in 1875, with a second story added in 1901. it was used as a jail until 1964 and later restored as a museum that is open during the summer.

In addition to its beautiful mountain setting, Truckee is also worth a visit because of its collection of fine local retail stores, which include many types of arts and crafts. Additionally, few towns its size can boast as many quality restaurants.

For more information about Truckee, go to

Rich Moreno covers the places and people that Nevadans want to see.

New ceramic sculpting class coming to Carson City

Have fun learning to sculpt three-dimensional art, like this ceramic elephant candle holder by Deana Hoover, in a new class coming to the Brewery Arts Center. A class for beginning and experienced sculpting students will be 1-4 p.m. Mondays March 6-April 10. Topics include techniques in clay sculpting and basic tools, glazes and studio equipment. Tuition is $165 for nonmembers and $150 for members. Supplies cost $20 on the first day of class. To enroll, call 775-883-1976, or go to

Carson City area live entertainment for Feb. 23-March 1, 2017

Jimmy Mallett from 6 to 9 p.m. today at Living the Good Life, 1480 N. Carson St.

Art Mulcahy and the Roadside Flare at 6 p.m. today and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden.

The Trippin King Snakes from 7 to 10 p.m. today at the Carson Cigar Company, 318 N. Carson St.

Pointdexter at 8 p.m. Friday at Sassafras, 1500 Old Hot Springs Road.

Ev Musselman from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at David Walley's Hot Springs, 2001 Foothill Road in Genoa, and 6-9 p.m. Wednesday at Max Casino, 900 S. Carson St.

The Lost Reverends of the High Sierra at 8 p.m. Friday at Genoa Bar, 2282 Main St., Genoa.

Brother Dan Palmer from 6 to 9 p.m., followed by DJ R Styles at 9:30 p.m., Friday at Living the Good Life, 1480 N. Carson St.

Live music from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Bella Fiore Wines, 224 W. Third St., Suite 8.

Phil Prunier from 9 p.m. to midnight Friday at Alatte Coffee & Wine Bar inside the Carson Nugget, 507 N. Carson St.

Lady and the Tramps from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday at Max Casino, 900 S. Carson St.

Live comedy by Steve Bruner at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Carson Nugget, 507 N. Carson St. Tickets for $15 are at or the casino's guest service center.

An open mic night open to all ages and skill levels at 7 p.m. Friday at A to Zen, 1801 N. Carson St.

Reno Rock Camp at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Sassafras, 1500 Old Hot Springs Road.

DJ Bebop at 9 p.m. Saturday at Living the Good Life, 1480 N. Carson St.

Bread and Butter at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Casino Fandango, 3800 S. Carson St.

Brian Lester from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Js' Old Town Bistro in Dayton.

Live music with Terri Campillo and Craig Fletcher from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. through Saturday at Glen Eagles, 3700 N. Carson St. Campillo and Fletcher are joined by Mick Valentino today and Rocky Tatterelli on Friday and Saturday.

Karaoke at The Y-Not Saloon, 152 E. Long St., from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday.

Tom Miller from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Sassafras, 1500 Old Hot Springs Road.

Karaoke with J&M Productions from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Alatte Coffee & Wine Bar inside the Carson Nugget, 507 N. Carson St.

Corky Bennett from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at La Posada Real, 3205 Retail Drive.

Karaoke at Beercade, 1930 N. Carson St., adjacent to Carson City Inn, from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturdays.

Celebrations Old and New, a program by the Carson City Symphony, at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Bob Boldrick Theater inside the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St. Tickets are $15 for general admission; $12 for seniors, students, and Symphony Association members; and free for youth age 18 and under. Get tickets at the Carson City Visitors Bureau, or at, or at the door.

Bill Wharton at 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden.

Caitlin Jenna at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Sassafras, 1500 Old Hot Springs Road.

CW and Dr. Spitmore at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Comma Coffee, 312 S. Carson St.

Patrick Major at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden.

Daniel Gaughan from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Genoa Lakes Golf Course & Resort, 1 Genoa Lakes Drive.

Dave Leather's acoustic Americana music at noon Wednesday at Comma Coffee, 312 S. Carson St., and 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Sassafras, 1500 Old Hot Springs Road.

Billy Starr at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Red Dog Saloon, 76 N. C St. in Virginia City.

Send live music and entertainment information to by end of day Tuesday for inclusion.

Nevada Artists Association holding art reception for Winter Show

'Man on a Mission,' a watercolor by Ronnie Rector of Incline Village, won Best of Show in Nevada Artists Association's annual Winter Show. The association is planning an afternoon of food, wine and art on Saturday when it honors the artists who contributed to the show. The reception and awards ceremony will be 1-4 p.m. at the NAA Gallery inside the Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St., but the show will be up through March 31. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free and all art is for sale.

Capital City Community Band’s Annual Salute to Young Musicians concert planned

The enthusiastic voices of elementary school students from two local schools will fill the Community Center when they perform with the Capital City Community Band on March 12.

This year's Salute to Young Musicians concert, put on annually by the band, will feature choirs from Fritsch and Mark Twain elementary schools.

The choirs will perform "Let There Be Peace on Earth," "Disney at the Movies," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Armed Forces — The Pride of America" with the Capitol City Community Band honoring "Music in Our Schools Week."

Conducting the Fritsch Elementary School choir is Nicole Melsheimer, a CHS graduate and former Miss Carson City. With more than 30 years of experience playing the piano, she was a part of the music group, "M-N-M Music," with whom she recorded a CD.

Melsheimer received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Nevada, Reno, and earned her teaching license from Sierra Nevada College. She traveled for one year in the international performing group "Up With People" and was one of the keyboard players in the cast band. She has taught music at Carson City schools for seven years and now teaches music, band and choir at her former elementary school.

Christina Bourne, conductor of the Mark Twain Elementary School Choir, is a Carson City native. She graduated with honors from CHS in 1997 and received a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Nevada in 2001. She went on to earn a Master in Music Education in 2007. Bourne has been teaching general music and band for the Carson City School District for a decade. She won Miss Nevada 2003 and Carson City School District Teacher of the Year in 2009.

The program also will feature "76 Trombones" from the Music Man and "Fairest of the Fair" by John Philip Sousa as well as other marches from the Capital band, under the direction of Richard Doede.

The audience also can look forward to hearing "Puttin' on the Ritz" by the clarinet choir from Carson High School.

The music starts at 3 p.m. in the Bob Boldrick Theater inside the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

Also catch the Capital band's upcoming free concert at 3 p.m. May 21 in the Nugget Auditorium at Western Nevada College.

For information, go to

Robyn Jordan: Food hub strives to be epicenter of local eats

There's a new outlet for the food enthusiasts of the Oasis of Nevada, a place for foodies to get their fill of locally grown, fresh and delicious produce.

Located in the center of Fallon's beautiful historic Maine Street is the Fallon Food Hub, a co-op in the area still in its infancy, though working on becoming a cultural hub to the Lahontan Valley.

The Fallon Food Hub Co-op (FFHC) has been realized by a team of like-minded locals who saw a need and an opportunity to grow a great community-driven marketplace, a place where farmers could easily market their specialty crops, value added products and consumers could conveniently shop in one location. With a fantastic staff, strong group of volunteers, working board of directors, consultants and outside support, they've made it happen, and are about to celebrate one year of business.

Like other co-ops, FFHC is a nonprofit organization that's working toward becoming membership owned. The hub's membership drive began in December and has been steadily increasing its numbers each week. This has been an indicator the project is filling a need in the community. With continuous growth, the hub is also expanding its services to more producers, as well as the consumers in the region (look for information on Fallon's farmers market in the coming months).

The FFHC carries product (seasonally-dependent) from more than 50 local farms and regional value added producers, a number that's growing each day; the store features a wide array of produce, dairy, meat and other items.

Items from the Albaugh Ranch, Sandhill Dairy, Pick-In and Grin-In Produce, First Fruits Sustainable Farms, Lattin Farms and various other Churchill County agriculture businesses have now become staples in local homes.

Customers love the fact they can avoid the store on some days, and they can grab a coffee from the Espresso Bar, featuring Blind Dog Coffee's Nevada Black Blend.

The hub staff now expects middle school students each afternoon, stopping in after school for a healthy snack consisting of Sandhill Dairy chocolate milk buddies and an apple.

Look for more news and events from the Fallon Food Hub! It's expanding its services and product availability, especially for the coming spring and summer harvests. You can sign up for its newsletter at, under the "Contact Us" tab. Don't forget to #LoveYourHub!

From the FFHC's mission statement: "It is our vision to create a gathering place in the heart of Northern Nevada, which will provide an outlet and marketplace for local farmers, local small food producers, and our emerging value-added sector."

If you're interested in becoming involved with the Fallon Food Hub, you can email or call 775-867-5625. Or you can stop by the store at 40 E. Center St., Fallon 89406. Winter store hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Robyn Jordan is marketing coordinator with the Fallon Food Hub Co-op.

Catch art display by Western Nevada College students in Carson City

Noah Shek is seen with his typology project, 'Potato Chips.' Shek and 20 other students from Western Nevada College are showcasing their artistic virtuosity in 'Art from WNC' sponsored by the Capital City Arts Initiative. The display features a variety of art including graphic design, drawing, photography, and other pieces. It can be seen through March 30 at the Community Development Building, 108 E. Proctor St.

Carson City Symphony staging first concert of the year Feb. 26

A symphonic celebration of music old and new will fill the Carson City Community Center's Bob Boldrick Theater as the Carson City Symphony takes the stage in its first concert of the year.

The symphony, directed by David Bugli, will present "Celebrations Old & New" at 4 p.m. Feb. 26.

The program will feature guest composer/soloist Brian Landrus in his original compositions, Jeru Concerto for Baritone Saxophone and Orchestra and Arrow in the Night.

Landrus is a native Nevadan who earned his bachelor's from the University of Nevada, Reno. He went on to earn degrees in jazz composition and jazz saxophone from the New England Conservatory.

The jazz musician has toured the world and founded a recording label to release his original music, all while receiving recognition and awards for his work.

The program also will include A Festival Prelude by Alfred Reed, Symphony No. 5 ("Reformation") by Mendelssohn, and Carmen Suite No. 1 by Bizet.

Stop by the lobby at 3 p.m. to hear pre-show entertainment by members of STRAZZ, the Symphony's youth strings ensemble.

Also, a meet-the-soloist concert preview will be at 3:15 p.m. in the Sierra Room, where Bugli and Landrus will discuss Landrus' early years and influences in the Reno area, the use of saxophone in orchestra, jazz elements in classical music, differences in style between jazz and classical music, and other topics related to the program. Because the concert is on the 100th anniversary of the first audio recording of a jazz work, history about the significance of recording on the development of jazz will be included.

The preview will end with questions from the audience. The talk is funded in part by Nevada Humanities, Nevada's nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Tickets are $15 for general admission; $12 for seniors, students, and Symphony Association members; and free for youth age 18 and under.

Get tickets at the Carson City Visitors Bureau, 716 N. Carson St., or at, or at the door.

Donors at United Blood Services' Carson City donor center Feb. 18-25 can receive a complimentary ticket to the concert. Call 775-887-9111 for donor center hours.

For information, go to, or call 775-883-4154.

All that glitters isn’t always golden

An amazing number of Nevada mining towns just seemed to pop up almost overnight—and then disappear even faster.

Most of these "Now-You-See-'Em-Now-You-Don't" towns were frequently little more than tent cities, but a few, such as Gold Center, were able to claim at least a few brick and stone buildings before vanishing forever.

What remains of Gold Center can be found about three miles south of the southwestern town of Beatty, on a hillside directly west of U.S. Highway 95.

Despite its name, Gold Center wasn't the location of much successful mining and never produced any gold. In fact, its main reason for existing to supply water from the Amargosa River, which runs adjacent to site, to surrounding mines and mining communities.

In 1904, a town site was laid out and named Gold Center. The town's optimistic developers hoped that Gold Center would surpass nearby Bullfrog, Rhyolite and other mining camps as a kind of mining camp suburb.

When the Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad was constructed through the area in 1906, Gold Center was selected as its connection with the nearby mines. Unfortunately, that was the high point in Gold Center's existence.

Less than a year later, rail facilities were completed to Rhyolite, which had grown much larger, and Gold Center began to lose its importance as a shipping point.

The end, however, wasn't immediate. A large brewery and ice plant was constructed in Gold Center in 1907, as were several dozen wooden homes and a number of businesses, such as a post office, bank, hotel, stores, saloons and even a newspaper office. The latter, called the "Gold Center News," managed to be published for a few years in 1906-07.

Additionally, a large mining mill was erected on the hillside above the town to process ore from area mines. A mining company even sank several shafts in adjacent hills to test the area for mineral potential, but found nothing worth pursuing.

All of these efforts proved to be bad investments. By the time the Bullfrog mines went bust and Rhyolite began to fail, about 1910, Gold Center was already in serious decline and soon after quickly faded away.

A visitor today will find only a few reminders of Gold Center. Much of the former site has been destroyed by dredge mining operations in the area during the past few decades.

The best remains are found on the hillside overlooking a large pond of water diverted from the Amargosa River.

Wandering through the stone and brick ruins on the hillside, you can find the large, rusted poles that were once part of the mill. In addition, you can find stone foundations, cracked concrete floors and the intriguing remnants of some kind of brick and iron oven.

A good place to learn more about Gold Center's history is the Beatty Museum and Historical Society (417 Main Street, Beatty,, which contains displays and artifacts related to the entire area's rich history. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information about Gold Center, go to

Rich Moreno covers the places and people that make Nevada special.