The New Nine

October 31, 2009

This month, Nine, originally on Broadway in 1982 and revived in 2003, slinks into movie theaters. All three versions are based on Italian director Frederico Fellini’s 8 and ½, the tale of a director’s quest to find inspiration through the women in his life. Hollywood stars Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson and Fergie take over prime roles, and Rob Marshall (Chicago: The Movie and television’s Annie) provides his trademark stylized steps and impeccable direction. Here DS gets the scoop from associate choreographer Tara Nicole Hughes, who, along with her loads of choreography credits, is a Broadway and Hollywood veteran, having performed in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Chicago: The Movie. —Lauren Kay

What’s the movement like in the new Nine?

Tara Nicole Hughes: It’s set in Italy in the 1960s, so we referenced that period heavily. There’s a go-go piece with Kate Hudson, as well as a showgirl piece with feathers and fans. It’s all signature Rob Marshall: jazz with a Fosse essence; very unique and recognizable.

: What can we look forward to in this film?

TNH: It has that electricity of excitement. The dancing is gorgeous—rhythmic and beautiful—and the music is inspiring. What Rob did between the Broadway version and the film, in terms of adjusting it and helping the material grow, is amazing. As we were working on it, we said we can see dance studios taking the numbers and reenacting them at recitals or competitions, just like they did with Chicago.

: How has your dance background benefited you as associate choreographer?

TNH: I know how to conduct myself within a rehearsal and I understand the process of building a dance piece. And, because I also dance in many of the numbers, I was able to wear a lot of hats all at once for Rob.