“The following article was written by myself and appears on my Facebook page, acknowledging the contribution of Choreographer Jack Cole and his contribution to the world of dance.” – Andrew Choreographer

Jack Cole, “Cole technique” is the basis of what is American/Theatrical Jazz Dance today.

Mr. Cole was a great influence on other great dancers we know, such as, Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Gennaro.

Jack Cole - Photo from the web.

Jack Cole – Photo from the web.

Mr. Cole set the bar high with his understanding of dance and its origin/history, he learnt and understood other styles/techniques, from Modern, Caribbean, to Oriental.

His ability to choreograph for both male and female dancers was amazing too. When it comes to passing on that knowledge and preparing his dancers for work as a choreographer, he would often mention to his company dancers. – “I want you boys to dance like girls and I want you girls to dance like men.”

Even when Mr. Cole was choreographing his numbers, he would at times retain artistic control of filming, set designs and wardrobe. Mr. Cole was handed the task for choreographing Kismet, based on his works from the Broadway and London productions.

He performed authentic Indian dance technique to swing tempos, which he referred to as “Hindu Swing,” such as the “Not Since Nineveh” dance number.

As you watch the number, you should notice the precision of the (Indian dance technique) Bharatanatyam movements, from swift change of direction, combination of fingers, hands, head, placement of the feet/flexed foot, to the isolating body movements; this dance number demonstrates Jack Cole’s training and attention to details as a choreographer.

image JC1 JC3 JC4 Kismet 1955 Kismet Broadway 1 Kismet Broadway 2
Jack Cole with Marilyn Monrow - Photo from the web

Jack Cole:

Mr. Cole’s Oriental influences started back from his time with Denishawn Dance Company, founded by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. He continued to further his training/studies of Bharatanatyam under Uday Shankar, a master in his field.

Mr. Cole describes his passion for dance by drawing from other cultures.

“I was interested in many things. I was interested in the Oriental theatre; Japanese and Indian particularly. I was always interested in the culture of people and how the expressed themselves. I never wanted to be—people are always confusing why you are teaching them; they think you want to teach them to be an Indian dancer—but I was trying to expose them to a different attitude, to give them the excitement and discovery of the thousand ways there are to move that are peculiar and different, totally different, that would never enter your head here. It opens up a new vocabulary of movement.”

For over five years, Gwen Verdon was dance assistant to Jack Cole on several productions from Broadway to Hollywood; she talks about Jack Cole and his dance technique.

“Just about everything you see on Broadway today is there because of Jack Cole and Agnes de Mille. Jack Cole introduced what today you would call jazz. It was actually African dance, but we did it in high heels.


Kismet, 1953.

Total Performances: 683.

Dances and Musical Numbers Staged By Jack Cole.

Winner of Three Tony Awards.

Reiko Sato, Patricia Dunn, Jack Dodds and Marc Wilder reprised their roles in the 1955 film.

Did You Know?

Mr. Cole was the choreographer for the 1944 film Kismet. His assistant choreographer was Jeanette Bates. This film had four nominations at the 1945 Academy Awards.


Reiko Sato, Patricia Dunn, Wonci Lui, Jack Dodds and Marc Wilder, in Kismet, 1955, performing in “Not Since Nineveh.”

Choreographer: Jack Cole. (Musical numbers and dances staged by).

Assistant Choreographer: Patricia Denise. (Barton Mumaw).


About Andrew Choreographer:

My passion is teaching classes for various ages, levels and abilities through jazz dance, exercising and/or warm up classes as well as writing about my chosen craft.

I have choreographed for Rick Evans Band, and had roles on the TV series Neighbours, The Flying Doctors and various TV commercials.

I place a strong emphasis on technical dance training, including dance education of past and present dancers/choreographers who have contributed to the arts.

You can contact Andrew Choreographer on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

On Twitter, click here.

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Featured image: Jack Cole – Photo from the web.