Dancer Health

Kitchen Choreography: Delectable recipes by dance icons

Kitchen choreography

Need help figuring out what to make for dinner? Google “Red Shell Mgmt Kitchen Choreography” to find delicious recipes for main courses, salads, soups, desserts and cocktails – all from some of your favourite dancers! 

The LaVelle family. Photo courtesy of Stephen LaVelle.
The LaVelle family. Photo courtesy of Stephen LaVelle.

No ordinary recipes — these recipes (and the personal stories connected to them) were collected from professionals in the world of dance. For example, you will find ballerina Misty Copeland’s recipe for sautéed kale with flounder; tap teacher, choreographer and performer Brenda Bufalino’s pasta sauce; and Ballet Hispánico Artistic Director and choreographer Eduardo Vilaro’s recipe for black beans. 

A blog on the Red Shell Mgmt website, Kitchen Choreography is a fun online collaborative cookbook that celebrates expressions of creativity through food as shared by dancers, dance teachers, choreographers, artistic directors, dance promoters, agents, managers and publicists, and the culinary curious.   

Black beans recipe.
Black beans recipe.

An examination of these offerings will give you the food idea you seek and insight into the life of the originator of the recipe as well as the world of professional dance. Kitchen Choreography is meant to be as diverse as the kaleidoscopic subject of dance. Modern dance pioneer Doris Humphrey, the founding artistic director of the Limón Dance Company, was not particularly interested in cooking, but she did make desserts, and accordingly Kitchen Choreography includes her recipe for icebox cake. Marcellus Harper, executive director of Memphis’ Collage Dance Collective, contributed his family’s recipe for crab cakes. Diana Byer, founding artistic director of New York Theatre Ballet, contributed her chicken soup recipe to help cure the annual Nutcracker cold. Edward Schoelwer contributed a recipe for a food way popular in Cincinnati, his hometown, called geméis.

The seeds of Kitchen Choreography were planted decades ago during a conversation between Schoelwer, president of Red Shell Mgmt, and the legendary teacher and mentor Bessie Schönberg (for whom the acclaimed Bessie Awards are named). Schönberg had recently been a guest in the home of Merce Cunningham, and she reported that Cunningham was a very fine cook. Thinking about other notable foodies like icons George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, Schoelwer asked if there was a connection between cooking and choreography? “Of course,” Schönberg answered, “and it is easy to explain. Both are expressions of creativity.”

Chicken vermouth recipe.
Chicken vermouth recipe.

In November of 2020, at the height of the pandemic, when all the world was stuck at home, the Kitchen Choreography project was begun. Quirky emails calling for recipes were sent out with the subject line “How is Your Kitchen Choreography?” Dozens generously responded by sharing their “specialties” from their private lives (submissions are still welcomed). And only ideas are being exchanged, not money. Finding pleasure in life and community are the intended outcomes.  

Recipes have been collected from multiple sources so that the blog features dishes from the past as well as the present. One will find recipes from Doris Humphrey, Geoffrey Holder, George Balanchine, Robert Joffrey, Tanaquil Le Clercq and Arthur Mitchell, among others.

So, wait are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and get creating with food! Check out Kitchen Choreography at  

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