I came back from the premier of Gail Levin’s new documentary Cab Calloway: Sketches with exclusive footage. Enjoy! -Michelle Rafferty
Cab Calloway was never a classically trained dancer. In fact, he learned movement by studying a rooster he brought with him on tour. Check out this clip from Levin’s documentary, in which cartoon Cab dances alongside Alvin Ailey dancer Matthew Rushing (think Gene Kelly and Jerry Mouse) :
Gail Levin on bringing Cab back to life:
Richard O’Connor of Asterisk Animation on animating Cab:
The live action dancer is doing essentially the same moves Cab did in the open to the Fleischer “Minnie the Moocher” film. His gestures are much more fluid than Cab’s and his tempo is much faster. The idea was to show Cab brought back to life and dancing alongside this modern interpretation. We went back to the same source for inspiration. Matthew Rushing, the dancer, actually moves at a quicker tempo than Cab but we could speed up the timing of Cab’s moves too much and still retain the feel. Sometimes we simplified the action -instead of two turns, we did one. Other times we just edited the animation to keep the moves coordinated. (A breakdown of the animation can be found at the asterisk animation blog.)
And Cab’s daughter Cecilia Calloway singing “Little Child,” the song she performed with her father:
You can learn more about Cecelia’s involvement in arts education at Drums no Guns.