6 Music Videos Inspired by the Work of Bob Fosse

Including, of course, "Single Ladies" (Vevo)

Choreographer Bob Fosse's signature style—with its jazz hands, inverted knees, and slouched shoulders—is still a huge influence in the dance world (and, thanks to the gloriously dancy FX series "Fosse/Verdon," the TV world). But while you know to expect plenty of Fosse-isms during a stage performance of Chicago or Sweet Charity, Fosse's legacy has also seeped into pop music culture, inspiring the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. Here are just six of the many music videos that reference Fosse's iconic works.


"Get Me Bodied," Beyoncé

There's no doubt that Beyoncé's music video for "Get Me Bodied" was inspired by Fosse's "Rich Man's Frug," from the musical Sweet Charity. From the the fist pumps to the ponytail flips (not to mention the costumes and set), the vid channels the glamor of "Rich Man's Frug" perfectly.

"Alejandro," Lady Gaga

There are all kinds of influences at play in this epic video, but it clearly references the film version of Cabaret (which Fosse choreographed) at several different points, with Lady Gaga embodying Sally Bowles. Notice the Fosse-esque hip and hand movements throughout, and particularly at the 6:20 mark of the music video.

"Spell Block Tango" and "Cell Black Django," Todrick Hall

"Cell Block Tango," from Chicago, is arguably Fosse's most recognizable number—and it inspired not one but two of Todrick Hall's viral YouTube videos. "Spell Block Tango" puts a Disney villain twist on the classic routine, featuring Cruella de Vil, Ursula, and other characters we love to hate as the murderesses behind bars. "Cell Black Django" uses the number to poke fun at stars like Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna.

"Circus," Britney Spears

We see subtle Fosse references throughout Britney Spears' "Circus" video. Spears, as the circus ring leader, appears to be channeling the Leading Player from Fosse's musical Pippin. There's some saucy Fosse-style hat-and-cane choreo, too, and a section with chairs that recalls Cabaret.

"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," Beyoncé

There's probably no stronger representation of Fosse's influence on popular culture than Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" (aka the "best video of all time"). Its choreo pays homage to—or, some have argued, steals from—Fosse's number "Mexican Breakfast," which was created for a performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Check out this video to see the similarities side by side.

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(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

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