5 Bob Fosse Facts TikTok Didn't Teach You

May 9, 2021

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.