Bob Fosse rehearses a group of dancers for Sweet Charity's psychedelic "Rhythm of Life" sequence. Photo by Universal Pictures, Courtesy DM Archives

5 Bob Fosse Facts TikTok Didn't Teach You

By now, if you're on #DanceTok, you've probably come across the Fosse Challenge, AKA a short portion of the dance number "Rich Man's Frug" from Sweet Charity, choreographed by Bob Fosse.

But you don't get the whole picture from one TikTok challenge. Here are five fast facts about Fosse that we're pretty sure you didn't learn on TikTok.


1. He wasn't just a choreographer

Before he was a choreographer, Bob Fosse was a dancer in vaudeville and burlesque shows. In 1945 he enlisted in the Navy and then returned to dancing after World War II ended.

Fosse took up directing his own shows in order to have more creative control over his choreography. From there he began directing and choreographing films, such as Sweet Charity and Cabaret.

2. He choreographed 11 musicals

Fosse choreographed his first musical, Pajama Game, in 1954. From there he added 10 more musicals to his repertoire, including Damn Yankees, Chicago, Pippin, and Cabaret.

You can thank Fosse for every dance to "Cell Block Tango," "Roxie," and "Mein Herr" that you see at dance competitions.

3. His work inspired countless other artists

Fosse's signature style was groundbreaking at the time it was new, so naturally, other artists took notice. His choreography has influenced music videos starring Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and more.

4. He was notoriously difficult to work with

Throughout his life, Fosse struggled with substance abuse and depression. He was prone to outbursts and arguments, and was a known serial philanderer. His tumultuous life and relationships were dramatized in the 2019 miniseries "Fosse/Verdon."

5. He holds a Tony Awards record

Bob Fosse holds a record eight Tony Awards for choreography, as well as one for direction. He also won Academy Awards and an Emmy over the course of his career.

Latest Posts


Photo by Joe Toreno. Hair by Marina Migliaccio and makeup by Lisa Chamberlain, both for the Rex Agency.

Sienna Lalau: The Dynamite Dancer and Choreographer Helping BTS Make Magic

At just 20 years old, Sienna Lalau is the living definition of "dynamite dancer": bold, confident, almost addicting to watch, and, at her core, overflowing with pure passion. From her work with The Lab Studios to Video Music Award–winning choreography for BTS, there's no stopping this starlet from bringing her love of dance to the global stage.

"Dance is something that can truly connect people," Sienna tells Dance Spirit. "It's a universal language. We may not speak the same language physically, but when we dance, there's a connection where we understand each other on another level."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Beat the Cheat: Combat Incorrect Jump Landings With These Targeted Fitness Exercises

As dancers, we all have our vices—those little technique cheats that we know are incorrect, and we try our best to fix whenever we can remember...but at the end of the day, we just can't seem to banish them for good. After all, these cheats usually appear to help us: They can get our legs higher and our petit allégro a little faster, not to mention help us crank out that one extra rotation in a turn we dream about. Unfortunately, cheating proper technique also sets dancers up for a myriad injuries caused by improper alignment and undue stress on the body.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Joe Murchison, Courtesy Step Afrika!

8 Dance-Centric Juneteenth Celebrations to Check Out This Weekend

Dance organizations across the country have been planning ways to celebrate Juneteenth since well before it was declared a federal holiday by Congress this week. June 19 marks the date on which news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, TX, more than two years after the Civil War was declared over and enslaved people in the U.S. freed. Here are eight class and performance offerings, some in-person and some online, celebrating Black joy and resilience that you can check out this weekend.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search