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Astaireor Kelly?

9 posts in this topic

& I should also add the late Gregory Hines-(l946-2009) arguably my ma's favorite!

 

But to each his &her own of course, which do you just prefer dancing between Fred Astaire & Gene Kelly? & furthermore who was the superior actor?

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Also, check out Hines in THE COTTON CLUB, WHITE NIGHTS & TAP!  For me a laymen as they say. She was a NYC Rockett & later owned her own dance studio.

I just love watching-(as does she)  watch JAMES (Francis) CAGNEY dance!!!

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*Ginger Rogers used to say that Astaire was such a perfectionist,etc that her feet would actually beed very often!

 

& tis may surprise tons, but they were not ultra-close pals, despite the 10 they made together.

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According to GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Eleanor Powell(not a fan myself though) holds the official record for 1,000 taps per minute!

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I think Astaire wins on both counts. His long apprenticeship was served as a partner with his older sister, Adele, and involved dramatic acting, singing, dancing, and light comedy. By the time he made his movie debut, in MGM's "Dancing Lady" (1933), he had been a professional performer for more than 25 years. This training made him a better actor and singer than Kelly. As to their dancing, I incline more towards the light and graceful Astaire style to the more powerful and athletic Kelly style. Astaire seemed to float on air with an effortless grace, while Kelly's grace forced its way through the air and dominated it. Both defied gravity - Astaire ignored it, while Kelly conquered it. Kelly always looked like he was working hard; Astaire looked like he was hardly working. It is a great thing that we have both and don't have to choose, because they are both amazing. But if I had to choose, I would take Fred Astaire.   

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On July 10, 2018 at 5:34 AM, Whipsnade said:

 "...Both defied gravity - Astaire ignored it, while Kelly conquered it. Kelly always looked like he was working hard; Astaire looked like he was hardly working."... 

I love your clever play on words here, and I totally agree. I've always preferred Astaire over Kelly. Kelly's athleticism was admirable, but Astaire's grace was mesmerizing. 

As far as acting, well, neither was Gielgud, but Kelly's overt and sometimes boorish hamminess annoyed me. Astaire handled his roles w/the same light touch imparted in his dancing.

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On 7/10/2018 at 4:34 AM, Whipsnade said:

Astaire seemed to float on air with an effortless grace...

Maybe it's not a coincidence he has "air" in his name.  "He floats through the air with the greatest of ease, dancing his taps so they seem like a breeze..."

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1 hour ago, Pastiche said:

Maybe it's not a coincidence he has "air" in his name.  "He floats through the air with the greatest of ease, dancing his taps so they seem like a breeze..."

Astaire is a very cool stage name for a dancer.  You wouldn't have been able to make the same analogy if he had kept his real name, Austerlitz.  Astaire used to joke that it sounded more like a battle than a name-- it was a good battle for Napoleon.

However, Fred's stage name is really a diminutive of his real name.

But with Gene Kelly --it's what-you-see-is-what-you-get-- that is his name or I should say his full name is Eugene Kelly. And doesn't that sound like an Irish step dancer? LOL

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9 hours ago, Pastiche said:

Maybe it's not a coincidence he has "air" in his name.  "He floats through the air with the greatest of ease, dancing his taps so they seem like a breeze..."

         It appears that the use of "air" in Astaire was intentional. Fred's mother, Johanna Austerlitz, was concerned about finding a suitable stage name for Fred and Adele. She wanted a name that had "star quality." She was concerned about both the length of the family name and its foreign sound, neither of which would look good on a theater marquee. The process of finding an appropriate name began around 1907, when Fred and Adele (approximate ages 7 and 10) were students at the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts, in New York. Although some have theorized that the name came from a distant maternal uncle with the surname L'Astaire, the evidence suggests that that the origin was not that specific. Various stage billings at the Alviene School show that the name evolved over time. Fred and Adele were variously listed as "The Austers," "The Astiers," "The Astares," and "The Astairs," before finally becoming "The Astaires." The final version had a continental and sophisticated "air" about it, without all the foreign and historical baggage of "Austerlitz." In solidarity with her children, stage mother Johanna Austerlitz adjusted her name to conform with theirs - she became "Ann Astaire." She gave them the name, but it was their responsibility to make it mean something. By 1930, they had made it world famous; by 1960, he had made it immortal.*

*Riley, Kathleen. The Astaires: Fred and Adele (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012). pp. 21-25.

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