Tremaine Legendary Death, Obituary – According to her son Michael Breaux and her partner Gordy Mischke, the iconic choreographer Dee Dee Wood passed away in a gentle manner on April 26. She was the recipient of the Tremaine iconic Choreographer Award in 2012. It is with heavy hearts that we share this news with you. Our whole Tremaine Dance family, including her close friend and assistant choreographer, Tommy Peel, who also serves as our Administration Director, is offering their most sincere sympathies to her family and friends during this difficult time.
She was a wonderful lady who will be remembered for leaving an indelible mark on the world of dance and entertainment for all time. You, Dee Dee, will be remembered fondly by many. After taking her first ballet class while she was a high school student, Dee Dee Wood’s passion for dancing was born. Later on in her life, she began her profession as a dancer on the Broadway stage in the 1950s. After performing in the choruses of a number of successful Broadway productions, including Guys and Dolls, Can Can, and Destry Rides Again, choreographer
Michael Kidd requested her to work as his assistant on the 1959 film Li’l Abner. Dee Dee was brought on as the choreographer after Kidd declined to participate in the film adaptation. She and her husband, Mark Breaux, later went on to stage and choreograph dance routines in a number of iconic films, some of which include Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Sound of Music. Roger Ebert, a noted film critic, reportedly remarked about the couple that “their dances are unmatched for sheer exuberance.”
Nicholas Hammond, who portrayed one of the von Trapp children in The Sound of Music, remembers Dee Dee as someone who “always made me laugh,” but Charmian Carr, who portrayed another of the von Trapp children in the movie, remembers her as “a fairy godmother.” She gave you the impression that there was nothing you couldn’t accomplish. The twirling of Rolf and Liesel around a rain-misted gazebo in The Sound of Music is considered an iconic example of movie dancing, and the enchanting interlude in Mary Poppins that co-stars Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, and a quartet of penguins is widely regarded as one of the most successful combinations of live action and animation ever created.
Since that time, Dee Dee has broken new ground for women by participating in major televised events such as halftime shows for the Super Bowl, ceremonies for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for Liberty Weekend in 1986. She was presented with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography in recognition of her efforts as part of the Closing Ceremonies television spectacular, which was a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.
After that, she became a choreographer and worked on the film Beaches, which starred Bette Midler, as well as an episode of the original HBO series Dream On.She has been able to collaborate with some of the most famous and successful artists of our era, which is a testament to her talent. Her considerable talents have been put to use by a plethora of well-known performers, including Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, George Burns, Cher, Bing Crosby, Billy Crystal, Bob Hope, Michael Jackson, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, Danny Thomas, Tina Turner, and Robin Williams, amongst others.
Despite this, she considers her time spent working with Dick Van Dyke to be one of the most significant highlights of her career. It was Dee Dee who was instrumental in swaying Van Dyke’s decision to relocate his family to Arizona. As a direct consequence of this, he used his facilities in that location to record an entire season of The New Dick Van Dyke Show during the early 1970s.In 1998, the American Choreography Awards honored Dee Dee with their Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2012, at the American Choreography Awards’ National Finals Gala, she was honored with their Tremaine Legendary Choreographer Award.
She directed and choreographed local musical theater productions for the Desert Foothills Theatre at that time, and she also served as the official spokesperson for “Celebration of Dance,” Arizona’s contribution to National Dance Week. Despite the fact that she was semi-retired at the time, she still made time to help her local community by utilizing her expertise. She did this by directing and choreographing local musical theater productions.
In addition to that, Dee Dee adored giving talks to young artists who were just starting out at various colleges and universities.
She was completely at ease in front of any and all audiences, whether they were dancers, patrons, community members, or dinner party guests. If you put her in a room with other dancers, she would immediately become one of them, talking about her life as a dancer, her triumphs, and the struggles she faced in her younger years; in essence, she would be sharing the passion that still burned brightly for her.
However, the message was more important than the dance. Her talks were more like a heartfelt chat than anything else. It was reported that rather than just giving a lecture, she gave a discourse instead. It was about experiencing life to the fullest and about realizing your dreams. It didn’t matter whether she was explaining the choreography she devised for Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke for the film Mary Poppins, or her first Broadway audition; there was always a message behind the moment. Dance was her goal, and no matter what she was talking about, there was always a deeper meaning. Throughout the years, she and her husband instilled in their children the message, “Do what you love.”