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The Asaire walk, the Kelly lifts


lifeboater

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Fred Astaire had a very fluid, lighter-then-air walk (similar to the dancing movements of female ballet dancers.) I'm often reminded of Astaire when I see young boys skate-walking. (They have tiny wheels in their shoes that allow them to gracefully, and effortlessly walk-"dance". (They might not consider it dancing--but I do.) (See Astaire' s gracefull and effortless walk-dance in "Funny Face".)

 

Gene Kelly's beaultiful tender romantic ballet-like lifts (of Leslie Caron), and Gene and Leslie's breathtaking ballet-like poises in the "An American in Paris" ballet never fail to stir my heart. ( It is a spiritual experience for me.) Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly were made to dance together.

 

In another way, Fred Astaire and Joan Leslie were destined to act and dance together.

In their movie "the Sky's the Limit" Fred and Joan had some very romantic scenes together.

And I think that the humorous dance that they did together in the first part of the movie was even more romantic than the some-what difficult formal dance ("This will be our special moment") that they did near the end of the movie.

 

And, if it wasn't for Fred and Ginger (who started together in the wonderful movie "Flying Down to Rio) who popularized dance musicals, great romantic dance movies like "The Merry Widow" (1934); "The Broadway Malody of 1938", and "An American in Paris" never would have been made.

 

If you are looking fro a great "New Year's Eve" movie, you can get the new two disc DVD of "An American in Paris" (which has some great special features).

 

A good Holiday book to read is: "Reading Dance" (1998) edited by Rober Gottlieb--which has some terrific essays about Fred Astaire. For instance:

 

"If Walter Pater was right that all arts aspire to the condition of music, the "Waltz in Swing Time" is where Astaire and Rogers most fully achieve that goal. Its music would seem incomplete without them. Part of its soundworld is the heart-stopping sudden hushes that allow us to hear their feet."

"But part of what's compelling about her [Rogers} in that period is how unclassy she remains. Even in their screen version of "Night and Day", which seems to have contained plenty of the stage original made for Luce, an element of what makes Rogers so refreshing is the tough Jean Harlow streak in her; it's even there in her stride. Dancing "Let's Face the Music and Dance" in "Follow the Fleet", three films later, she had become sublime. She hadn't, however, become one of Hollywood's ladies. Like Barbara Stanwyck, she's classless."

 

 

 

These quotes are from Alastair Macaulay's essay "Nice Work, Darling, Nice Work."

 

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Message was edited by: lifeboater

 

Message was edited by: lifeboater

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Here are the missing quotes:

 

A good Holiday book to read is: "Reading Dance" (1998) edited by Rober Gottlieb--which has some terrific essays about Fred Astaire. For instance:

If Walter Pater was right that all arts aspire to the condition of music, the "Waltz in Swing Time" is where Astaire and Rogers most fully achieve that goal. Its music would seem incomplete without them. Part of its soundworld is the heart-stopping sudden hushes that allow us to hear their feet.

But part of what's compelling about her [Rogers} in that period is how unclassy she remains. Even in their screen version of "Night and Day", which seems to have contained plenty of the stage original made for Luce, an element of what makes Rogers so refreshing is the tough Jean Harlow streak in her; it's even there in her stride. Dancing "Let's Face the Music and Dance" in "Follow the Fleet", three films later, she had become sublime. She hadn't, however, become one of Hollywood's ladies. Like Barbara Stanwyck, she's classless."

 

 

 

These quotes are from Alastair Macaulay's essay "Nice Work, Darling, Nice Work."

 

Message was edited by: lifeboater

 

Message was edited by: lifeboater

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  • 5 weeks later...

Interesting, since I've always held the opposite view about Fred's walk.

 

To me it was very determined and rhythmic - there was no way it could be mistaken for anything else (unless he was incorporating dance into it).

 

Just watch the way he enters the "Top Hat" number, or accompanies Hannah Brown in "Easter Parade" while they are walking away from the dress shop and toward the parade.

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