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Guest Blackwell, Jackie

Favorite Dancer(s)

67 posts in this topic

Guest pert, ud

Ruby Keeler is the most underrated dancer nowadays, and my favorite. I almost never read a kind word about her dancing, and that's because everyone is comparing her to Eleanor Powell, a true TAP dancer. Ruby was really a BUCK dancer, an earlier form of tap done on wooden heels, not taps. The idea of buck dancing was to hammer out the steps loudly and aggressively, whereas tap is meant to be more rhythmically graceful. For aggressive wood-heel dancing, Ruby was the best (P.S. She could authentically "tap," too, as evidenced in "Colleen," a true tap film where she is much more light-footed than usual; and in the 1970 Broadway show "No, No, Nanette").

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Guest Zooty

Faves: Of course Astaire and Rogers, Bojangles Robinson, the Nicholas Brothers, Gregory Hines, Savian Glover, Betty Grable & Dan Dailey.

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Guest Lyndsey

Betty Grable is fabulous. I like to see her in the little bit parts she had in the '30's, like FOLLOW THE FLEET--she was so cute. I don't really have a favorite film of hers, but I adore PIN-UP GIRL and MOON OVER MIAMI. I really wan to see SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES, I have heard it is incredibly enjoyable. Have you (or anyone else) seen any of her other films???

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Guest Alix

Ud Pert, are you the same person who posted on here last year? If so, welcome back! I also like Ruby Keeler. She did have a heavy-footed style, but I think she is effective in her roles. I never heard of Buck dancing, but she did hammer out loudly and aggressively. I am a big fan of her "Shanghai Lil" dance with James Cagney. Very sexy indeed.

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Guest pert, ud

Hi, Alix--yes, it's the same me. I had an enormous amount of time to devote to posting last year, and then I got too busy to continue for awhile, but I'm dropping a line from time to time these days. If I fail to reply for little periods, it just means I had to bow out for a spell; I don't mean to ignore anyone. Anyway, it looks like we still agree and disagree, almost simultaneously, as much as ever. You appreciate Ruby Keeler, but frankly (and I'm biased), I would never call her "heavy-footed," because buck dancing is, essentially, a heavy-footed style (it's like calling a tumbler someone who falls down a lot). I call it assertive, or military-style, like it was called when Ruby danced at Texas Guinan's nightclub in the twenties (the expression "give the little girl a big hand" came from there, and it refers to Ruby; Texas always said it after one of Ruby's dances). Fred Astaire himself mentions in his autobiography how Ruby's "military-style tap" always dazzled him when he went to see her there (he always wanted to dance with her, and regretted that he missed the chance when she almost got the co-starring role in "Damsel In Distress"). So I think Ruby's dancing is a tad misjudged these days. (I must say, I love "Shanghai Lil" too, though it's funny to see innocent Ruby playing "every sailor's pal...anybody's gal" who's detrimental to the industry of the bar girls.) Cagney also said in his book that he thought she was an expert dancer. On another note, Alix, I see from another discussion that you don't like Bing Crosby. Hm. I like him even more than Nelson Eddy...is this a romantic baritone problem you have, or what? Good to hear from you again.

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Guest Alix

Bing Crosby and Nelson Eddy! Two of my least favorite actors! I think probably my objection to Crosby is more personal, but it does color my perception of him in general. My problem with Nelson Eddy is that I simply dislike him--and Jeanette MacDonald too. I don't think it's a problem I have with romantic baritones--I married a romantic baritone!! Perhaps I just don't appreciate blonds...? Ruby Keeler...what a sweetie. Like you, I find it amusing that one so cute and innocent was playing "Shanghai Lil." And what in the world was she doing married to Al Jolson?? I can't imagine them married at all, unless you account for it by the fact opposites attract. I suppose I do consider her "heavy-footed" compared to other tap dancers, like Ginger Rogers, but as you informed us, the two use entirely different styles of tap! Probably not fair to compare different styles to each other. Do you like Ruby in GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933? Another "innocent" role, but I really like her in this one. I also enjoy Joan Blondell (as "Cheap & Vulgar Carol") and Warren William too. Did Joan Blondell ever tap or sing? I know she lip synchs that "Forgotten Man" song, but I mean did she really ever sing onscreen? If so, I just can't place it. Nice to see you back on the boards again!

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Guest pert, ud

Joan Blondell "sings" a bit in "Dames," and talk-sings a bit in "Colleen," but as much as I like her in other Warner roles, I don't know why they thought they could make her a musical star. She's also the female lead in "Gold Diggers of 1937," and you can see why the series was fading in popularity. Her marriage to Dick Powell obviously had something to do with her getting more roles opposite him, while Ruby's decreased. Keeler & Jolson, Powell & Blondell--doesn't compute, does it? Maybe Jolson & Blondell would have worked. No, that sounds unlikely, too.

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Guest JR

No contest! Fred & Ginger. Not only were they the best but Ginger had to do everything in high heels and backwards. JR.

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astaire & rogers are so fun to watch.

astaire by himself is magic.

o'conner (who i also thought was a better dancer than

kelly) is so entertaining also.

the whole cast of West Side Story

 

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The best dance team. Fred Altaire and Eleonor Powell in Broadway Melody of 1940. She was considered one of the most powerful dancers in hollywood. When I saw this movie I was mezmorized. They actucally danced til their feet bled. When the director wanted to quit for the day. They begged to continue. They couldn't have been more perfect together as dancers.

 

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Im crazy about Gene Kelly. Great actor, awsome dancer and not to mention, handsome!

I can also watch Fred and Ginger all day. Ann Miller is wonderful too. I can never pick a favorite.

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Donald O'Connor, always and forever. I've yet to find a musical of his that I've disliked. All though I've recently found myself having to continually defend There's No Business Like Show Business from some rather ruthless attacks.

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Gene Kelly, especially in "Anchors Aweigh". I'm not a huge dance fan, but I've watched his "Mexican Hat Dance" over and over. Also, the Nicholas brothers, but I rarely see anything of theirs anymore.

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I said it in a post three years 4 years ago and I'll say it again: James Cagney -- sexiest dancer (See Shanghai Lil number).

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Assuming Bettie Page is ineligible, I'll take Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire.

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I recommend that you watch "Springtime in the Rockies" because it has humor mixed in with the great musical numbers. Betty Grable, John Payne, Carmen Miranda, Cesar Romero, and Charlotte Greenwood were all enjoyable to watch. My favorite scene was watching Cesar and Betty performing a twirling dance that resembled a soda bottle spinning around. Charlotte Greenwood's signature move was lifting her long legs side to side almost like a clock ticking, very funny. You can even see Edward Everett Horton join in the last dance with all the other actors as the exiting scene. If you have fox movie channel, it will be aired on July 13 at 9:00 am eastern time.

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Actors and Actresses who were Great Dancers (when given the chance)

Myrna Loy was a fine dancer. I only saw her dance in "The Truth About Youth." WOW!

Mitzi Mayfair

Ann Sheridan could dance well too.

James Cagney

Ann Dvorak - check her out.

Marjorie White

Barbara Stanwyck could get down

Who were also great dancers when given the chance but were normally great actors/actresses?

 

My favorite dancers are....

Marilyn Miller was such a fine dancer.

I enjoyed Ruby Keeler. The films that are hardly shown are films that she did her best dancing.

Rita Rio - she danced like a snake

Bessie Love

Eleanor Powell

Nancy Carroll

Dorothy Jordan

Betty Grable was a good dancer too.

Rita Hayworth

Lana Turner

 

Eunice Wilson - a popular Black dancer who was like a Michael Jackson in the 30's. She showcase this in two films.

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You beat me! I was going to say Eleanor Powell, too! I loved that movie. Have you ever seen Rosalie!! What a show she puts on!

 

But, my absolute favorite is Rita. You Were Never Lovelier, and You'll Never Get Rich with Astaire are fantastic. Also, Cover Girl, Tonight and Every Night and Down to Earth! Not to mention she was a great beauty!

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