Dancer Tribute 1/19/12: Dick Van Dyke (West Plains, MO)

DickVanDyke2Dancer Tribute 1/19/12: Dick Van Dyke (West Plains, MO)

I’m caught!  Call the Geek Squad to report me.  I LOVE Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, Bye Bye Birdie and The Dick Van Dyke Show.  What do all of these have in common?  Why the talented and funny Dick Van Dyke of course.

I used to love watching the Dick Van Dyke Show, one of the few TV shows to show “middle age” people dancing modern style, of course the lovely and talented Mary Tyler Moore.

So I was a bit shocked when I watched Dick Van Dyke DANCING in 2 of my all-time favorite movies: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins!  Go ahead and call me a “geek” but they are 2 of my favorite childhood movies.  I love them so much that I purchased them on DVD and watch now with the grandkids.

I have a favorite scene from Mary Poppins, when Julie Andrews sings "Feed the Birds".  I looked at my Granddaughter’s expression (Danielle) while we were watching and that’s how I came up with her family nickname: Tuppence!  My favorite dance that movie is: "Step in Time" Kudos to co-director Matthew Bourne, who also acted as co-choreographer with Stephen Mear.

My favorite dances in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are the Music Box and Me Ole’ Bamboo.  I credit the Music Box dance as the first HIP HOP dance I ever saw,  They are ticking and I bet you can use those moves in Hip Hop!  The Music Box was brilliantly choreographed by Marc Breaux and Dee Dee Wood.  Kudos!

Even though Dick Van Dyke claimed he had no dance experience, he sure is keeping up dancing with the younger dancers in Me Ole Bamboo and also "Toot Sweets" in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  By the way, wouldn’t the choreography for Me Ole’ Bamboo make a great Belly Dance cane dance?

On the stage, Van Dyke was the lead in Broadway’s Bye Bye Birdie. In a May 2011 interview with Rachael Ray, Van Dyke noted that when he auditioned for a smaller part in the show he had no dance experience, and that after he sang his audition song he did an impromptu soft-shoe out of sheer nervousness. Gower Champion, the show’s director and choreographer, was watching, and promptly went up on stage to inform Van Dyke he had the lead. An astonished Van Dyke protested that he could not dance, to which Champion replied "We’ll teach you". That musical won four Tony awards including Van Dyke’s Best Featured Actor Tony, in 1961.[13] In 1980, Van Dyke appeared as the title role in The Music Man on Broadway.[

Kudos to Dick Van Dyke!  Very funny.  Very talented.  A very great dancer!
For more dance gossip & goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at and Barnes & Noble :