c. 1934

Busby Berkeley stands at the end of a tunnel of dancers on the set of the film “Dames.”

Image: Visual Studies Workshop/Getty Images

Watching Busby Berkeley’s choreography was like looking at dance through a kaleidoscope, with complicated rhythms of mathematical precision.

The son of stage actress Gertrude Berkeley, Busby first appeared on stage at age five, and went on to become the dance director for numerous Broadway musicals, garnering praise for arranging large numbers of dancers into elaborate geometric formations.

Berkeley brought this signature style to the big screen, choreographing dances for Eddie Cantor’s musicals. Expanding beyond the limits of the stage, he took advantage of top-down camera angles to transform groups of dancers into shifting kaleidoscopic works of art. Read more…

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Dance routines choreographed to look like kaleidoscopes