The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is the brain-child of Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. The writer/producer/director is a former dancer — which might explain why the Amazon series often uses dance — or at least balletic movements — in its episodes. 2 scenes in particular from Mrs. Maisel Season 3 — including that “sultry” dance Midge has with Lenny Bruce — stand out as memorable dance moments.
‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’: how Amy-Sherman Palladino uses dance to tell Midge’s story
Recently, Mrs. Maisel creator Amy Sherman-Palladino spoke to The New York Times about all the dancing that goes on in her Amazon Prime show.
Sherman-Palladino and her “husband and creative partner Daniel Palladino” have worked with choreographer Marguerite Derricks for years now; she also set the dance routines on Bunheads. Derricks’ work can also be found in the film Little Miss Sunshine as well as the Netflix series Glow.
“We call Marguerite our secret weapon because it’s as if we have another almost a director onstage,” Sherman-Palladino explained. “She understands how to do dance for camera, because it’s actually a different animal. …It’s everything the world envelops.”
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has employed dance in several episodes, in many different ways. As The Times argues, the series “breathes dance in many directions.” In the season 3 opener, for example, U.S.O. dancers pulled off an “over-the-top [number] with the fervor and splendor of an MGM spectacle.”
‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season 3 scene between Midge and Lenny Bruce that left fans swooning
But the series also rests on softer, subtler routines to tell its story. In Mrs. Maisel Season 2, fans will remember “dancers floating along the Seine.”
However, one especially memorable duet from the show: “the sultry dance between Midge Maisel and Lenny Bruce in season 3.”
The sparks flying between Lenny and Midge — beginning in season 1 — came to a head in the season 3 episode, “It’s Comedy or Cabbage.”
Maisel‘s choreographer, Derricks, told the publication about how she works with Sherman-Palladino to create such intimate dance scenes.
“The most fun for me is that I get there and Amy tells me where the pas de deux of the camera’s going to happen,” the choreographer explained. When Sherman-Palladino tells her how the camera will follow the different characters, “she kind of dances around and shows me,” Derricks said.
“Then I get to fill in the background dancers musically and choreograph them,” she continued. “Even if it’s just them spinning over their shoulder and walking across, it becomes this beautiful Swan Lake on the floor.”
For Derricks, dance is not just her job — it’s the way she and Sherman-Palladino approach the work itself.
“With Amy, it’s always like she and I are dancing together,” the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel choreographer shared.
Derricks and Sherman-Palladino reflect on the ‘sexy’ season 3 finale scene
However, that Lenny and Midge scene wasn’t the only sexy dance scene in Mrs. Maisel Season 3.
The Times reporter also asked Derricks about the season 3 finale scene at the Apollo. In addition to Shy Baldwin’s act, a dancer (played by Ra’Jahnae Patterson) performs a “striking, sexy solo.” How did that sultry performance come to be?
“Amy wrote that she starts onstage with her leg up over her head and it just hangs there,” Derricks said. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel choreographer said she knew immediately what Sherman-Palladino was going for. She dug into research on “Black women doing jazz from that time period,” then turned up the volume, so to speak.
“I took it to a level that I knew that she could handle,” Derricks explained of Patterson. “She makes everything look so easy, and she’s incredibly sexy without trying too hard.”