What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Everything’s Coming Up Fosse


bob fosse-dbI’m always a little bummed to discover that some iconic choreography that I love and admire is actually a knock-off of someone else’s earlier work. Unfortunately, thanks to the internet, nothing really disappears anymore, so if it’s out there, someone somewhere is going to find it. It’s taken all the fun out of plagiarism.

It happened, famously, when it came out that Beyoncé’s iconic “Single Ladies” choreography was actually very slightly modified choreography (from 1969) by Bob Fosse for his wife Gwen Verdon to a tune called “Mexican Breakfast.” Beyoncé’s people managed to get the original video (also famously) taken down from YouTube, but I found a pretty good version on Vimeo.

Well, Fosse has been – let’s say imitated – more than once. Here’s Bob Fosse dancing (and singing) in the 1974 movie, “The Little Prince.”

Does the choreography look familiar? It should. It is with a somewhat heavy heart that I report it was later repurposed and restyled by none other than Michael Jackson. Even the costumes are similar. Ack.

Do I blame Beyoncé and my beloved MJ? Kind of. Not really. I don’t know. At least they had the good sense to steal from the best. And how remarkable is it that choreography that old is still fresh and awesome these days? Instead of diminishing my love for Beyoncé and MJ, it’s instead increased my appreciation for The Master, Mister Bob Fosse.

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

33 thoughts on “Everything’s Coming Up Fosse

  1. There is very little that is truly original.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rock ‘n’ roll ain’t nothing but a history of appropriation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As depicted in All That Jazz, Bob Fosse aka “Joe Gideon” was as brilliant as his ego thought he was.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Being inspired by and influenced by others is no problem at all. All art forms evolve either by following on from what went before or by rebelling against it. What is not cool is not acknowledging or referencing the source of inspiration. To go so far as to remove the evidence is really very unethical. But then both MJ and Beyoncé seem like megalomaniacs to some degree so I’m not sure I’m surprised.

    PS I had never seen that “Snake in the Grass” clip before so thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow. I agree that if you’re going to steal do it from the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. There is an awful lot of outright theft of artists’ materials; however, there are times when, I believe – and I am way too old to be this naïve – a style, a work, a movement just becomes part of the conversation. The good news and bad news for the giants of creativity is that their work becomes widely familiar. That said, I am a really big fan of giving proper credit to inspirations and coaches and teachers and everyone else who has a hand in stirring up one’s muse. I am also a fan of Sagan’s comment that to bake an apple pie from scratch requires that the baker first invent the universe.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks for the beautiful Fosse videos. I’ve never seen the first two and enjoyed seeing his style. Never knew MJ took his moves.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Donna,

    It would suck to have your work stolen and for people to not give credit where it’s due.

    On the other hand, the fact that they copied you would mean that you are awesome and indeed worth copying – so that should be a compliment.

    Thank you also for visiting Organizedl Lunacy and let me know if there’s anything I can do for you!

    Best regards,


    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can really see where MJ got the choreography from for ‘Smooth Criminal’ and ‘Thriller.’ Still,even though he put his own take on it, Fosse still should have been credited.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Someone once commented that there were three giants in dance on film – Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Michael Jackson (video in the last case, really). Astaire made it look graceful and effortless, Kelly made it look stunning and impossible, and Jackson was just dancing with himself. Fosse really is a fourth, but because most of his work was really Broadway he just isn’t as well known. Arguably he is the most influential – everybody today does his slouching dance, and anybody who uses a hat owes him a debt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce, you’re getting the slow clap from me. I wish I’d said that. I would be inclined to put Fosse first, even though Astaire, Kelly, and Jackson danced their way through my childhoods and into my permanent playlist. I love that “anybody who uses a hat owes him a debt.” Brilliant!


  11. Hi Donna

    Just to say thank you for being my first like even in my one-day-so-far experience as a blogger. I was reading your posts and I find your story truly inspiring and it is such an honor to be acknowledge by you.

    Un abrazo


    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for being so helpful. I’ve checked settings and it all seems fine.

    I searched on Google and it’s already there so I wouldn’t know what the problem might be. I’ll keep looking for a solution.

    Many many thanks


    Liked by 1 person

  13. copying is one thing. But having ‘your people’ remove the original from anyone’s view is out and out stealing. I have never had any love for Bey or MJ. Even less now, it that’s possible.

    Liked by 1 person

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