Tuesday 29 August 2023 19:00 – 20:30 BST | 11:00 PDT | 14:00 EDT | 20:00 CEST £6 / PWYC TICKETS
Annette Walker presents a follow up to her initial March 2021 presentation about a forgotten choreographer of British musical stage and screen, Buddy Bradley.
Buddy Bradley worked extensively in British musical theatre from his arrival in London in 1930 until he returned to New York in the 1960s. He made significant contributions to dance practice, choreographed for BBC productions and was the first credited black choreographer of British musical film, yet his work is barely acknowledged in British dance history. Buddy’s career began in New York where he coached many performers including Fred and Adele Astaire, Eleanor Powell and Lucille Ball. In London, he ran a dance school for over twenty years and was known as the number one coach to the stars including John Mills, Audrey Hepburn and Bruce Forsyth but his most significant work was with the stage and film star, Jessie Matthews.
Annette Walker’s presentation looks at a selection of Buddy Bradley’s surviving work in British musical film and the social and historical context of his life and career as an African-American choreographer in Britain. Uncovering Bradley’s dance work in film requires navigating negative racial stereotypes and tropes of black people that were prominent in Britain during the mid-twentieth century. The presentation raises questions about how racialisations in theatrical productions impact viewing tap dance and the work required to undo the “invisibilisation” of Black contributions to British musical theatre and dance history.
Biography: Annette Walker MA BSc (Hons) DipHE
Annette is an accomplished, multi-talented performing artist who has appeared in a variety of theatre, film, television and concert productions. Her tap dance features include the BBC Proms 2019 Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music concert at the Royal Albert Hall, Swinging at the Cotton Club (UK tour) and the short film, Dateleap (2022). As an aerial circus artist, she was one of the Mary Poppinses in the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.
Annette is the founder and the musical director of the band, Rhythmaticians, and headlined the Marsden Jazz Festival with her new tap dance show in 2021. She also works as a music director and musician for other dance, music and theatre productions with credits that include Swing Sister Swing (UK tour 2022), Myke Masters Band and Sandi Toksvig’s Mirth Control at the WOW Festival at the Southbank Centre.
Annette’s passion for integrating music and dance continues off stage as a researcher and educator and she has taught at many dance and music institutions including, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Royal Academy of Dance, The BRIT School, National Youth Jazz Collective and Tomorrow’s Warriors. She led the Renegade Stage (tap improvisation workshop) at the London Tap Jam for over 15 years, and is currently a co-director of Tap Dance Research Network UK. Annette is a fully funded AHRC PhD student researching the influence of African American choreographer, Buddy Bradley, on the British musical stage.