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ELEANOR POWELL !!


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Ha! Ok, Jack. For Lamarr, they forgot to show Lady of the Tropics! I thought it was scheduled. That one is my favorite! DANG! Well, maybe for her birthday! And, for Garbo, her birthday looks pretty good, but you can't play everything! And, I am keeping my mouth shut about her. I tend to just get TOO upset!

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Eleanor is one of my favorite dancers. Jeni LeGon - a Black MGM dancer was called the Black Eleanor Powell, which I thought was condescending since she had style entirely her own. She did some great dancing in a few films. Marilyn Miller was a great dancer too. I hope TCM shows again Sunny and Sally.

 

Myrna Loy could dance. If you ever get a chance watch some of her earlier films. She was graceful but hot.

Ann Miller of course is a great dancer.

Ruby Keeler was a better dancer in her B movies then her A movies.

Dorothy Jordan was a fine dancer

Ann Sheridan could do any dance.

Lana Turner could dance excellently. They'll be showing Two Girls on Broadway either Mon or Tues where she dances with George Murphy.

Nancy Carroll was a great dancer.

Joan Blondell and Ann Sothern were great dancers too. These ladies could do it all.

Martha Raye is another good dancer.

Rita Hayworth is a great dancer and Betty Grable was a great dancer.

Barbara Stanwcyk could go to town too as they use to say.

There should be a day of female dancers.

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  • 11 years later...
On Wednesday, August 09, 2006 at 11:30 PM, msladysoul said:

Eleanor is one of my favorite dancers. Jeni LeGon - a Black MGM dancer was called the Black Eleanor Powell, which I thought was condescending since she had style entirely her own. She did some great dancing in a few films. Marilyn Miller was a great dancer too. I hope TCM shows again Sunny and Sally.

 

Myrna Loy could dance. If you ever get a chance watch some of her earlier films. She was graceful but hot.

Ann Miller of course is a great dancer.

Ruby Keeler was a better dancer in her B movies then her A movies.

Dorothy Jordan was a fine dancer

Ann Sheridan could do any dance.

Lana Turner could dance excellently. They'll be showing Two Girls on Broadway either Mon or Tues where she dances with George Murphy.

Nancy Carroll was a great dancer.

Joan Blondell and Ann Sothern were great dancers too. These ladies could do it all.

Martha Raye is another good dancer.

Rita Hayworth is a great dancer and Betty Grable was a great dancer.

Barbara Stanwcyk could go to town too as they use to say.

There should be a day of female dancers.

Eleanor was the most talented dancer of them all, that move of hers where she leaned back, then leaned back some more and kicked in Born to dance, very few others could do that. And those high kicks she did in Broadway melody 36 and 38, she made it look so natural. When she appeared a decade later from her other films in Esther Williams' Duchess of Idaho and danced, it was a shame that she didn't do those high kicks anymore there, I guess as she got older, they started to become too hard to do.

Myrna Loy was beautiful, I think she was more of a great romantic lead than a dancer, such as in The great Ziegfeld and in Wife vs secretary.

 Ruby Keeler's B movies were the films after the Busby Berkeley greats such as Flirtation walk, Coleen, and Get into your dance, right? Ruby was wonderful in those as well as her dancing, but she also danced wonderfully in the title song number of 42nd street.

Lana Turner was fabulous in Ziegfeld girl, such as in You stepped out of a dream. She didn't dance so much, but she looked dazzling and beautiful.

Barbara Stanwyk was great and daring in Baby face, she knew how to play them with a tough back hand slap. Same with in Annie Oakley. In her films of the 1940s, she became a softer romantic type such as in East side, west side and in My reputation.

 

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Eleanor Powell is one of my favorite dancers.  I love when she adds in her acrobatics.  I wish she had continued her career after marrying Glenn Ford.  

I love Ann Miller.  Her tap dancing is amazing.

Vera-Ellen is another of my favorite dancers.  Aside from tap, she could also do ballet.

Rita Hayworth was a great dancer, her two films with Fred Astaire are two of my favorite movies.

I also love Betty Grable and even I am impressed by her gorgeous legs.  Prior to actually seeing any of her films, I only knew her from an episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, "Lucy Wins a Racehorse," where Betty is appearing at Club Babalu with Ricky.  The rehearsals are at the Ricardos' home and Fred is front and center, glasses on, waiting for Betty to make her entrance.  Betty of course, is dressed in a flamenco style dress that is cut short in the front as to show off her famous legs. 

I also love Mitzi Gaynor.  She is an amazing dancer.  

I don't particularly think of Barbara Stanwyck as a dancer, rather an actress who may have danced in some films.  Barbara had a great set of legs too, as shown off in Ball of Fire.  

I also thought Judy Garland was a great dancer.  While she may not have been as skilled technically as some of her peers like Vera-Ellen and Miller, I thought that Garland was a great natural talent. 

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1 hour ago, Thenryb said:

Another very old thread resurrected. 

This thread Resurrection is honoring one of the Greatest Tap Dancers to ever appear on film.

That's what this website is all about--Immortal Talent on film.

Rap Tap on Wood-- Eleanor Powell was Born To Tap Dance.

 

Vive the Queen of Tap:  Eleanor Powell !!!

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5 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

This thread Resurrection is honoring one of the Greatest Tap Dancers to ever appear on film.

That's what this website is all about--Immortal Talent on film.

Rap Tap on Wood-- Eleanor Powell was Born To Tap Dance.

 

Vive the Queen of Tap:  Eleanor Powell !!!

I certainly think resurrection of an old thread is preferable to starting a new one on the same subject.

I would be interested in your comparison of the tap skills of Eleanor Powell vs. Ann Miller.

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2 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Eleanor Powell is one of my favorite dancers.  I love when she adds in her acrobatics.  I wish she had continued her career after marrying Glenn Ford.  

I love Ann Miller.  Her tap dancing is amazing.

Vera-Ellen is another of my favorite dancers.  Aside from tap, she could also do ballet.

Rita Hayworth was a great dancer, her two films with Fred Astaire are two of my favorite movies.

I also love Betty Grable and even I am impressed by her gorgeous legs.  Prior to actually seeing any of her films, I only knew her from an episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, "Lucy Wins a Racehorse," where Betty is appearing at Club Babalu with Ricky.  The rehearsals are at the Ricardos' home and Fred is front and center, glasses on, waiting for Betty to make her entrance.  Betty of course, is dressed in a flamenco style dress that is cut short in the front as to show off her famous legs. 

I also love Mitzi Gaynor.  She is an amazing dancer.  

I don't particularly think of Barbara Stanwyck as a dancer, rather an actress who may have danced in some films.  Barbara had a great set of legs too, as shown off in Ball of Fire.  

 

*I also thought Judy Garland was a great dancer.  While she may not have been as skilled technically as some of her peers like Vera-Ellen and Miller, I thought that Garland was a great natural talent. *

What you said reminded me of something that Judith Crist said long time ago--

Judy is the only female dancer who forces you to look at her-- even when she's dancing with Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly.

Mervyn Le Roy, her first director on The Wizard of Oz said of her:  it was unbelievable that such a great singer could also dance so well. (Unfortunately the big dance number,  "The Jitterbug" was deleted from The Wizard of Oz, but you can actually see it in ahome movie from the set by composer Harold Arlen on YouTube.  Also Judy performed the number on her TV show with Ray Bolger and Jane Powell.)

Judy Garland was simply the consummate performer, no matter what she did.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Thenryb said:

I certainly think resurrection of an old thread is preferable to starting a new one on the same subject.

I would be interested in your comparison of the tap skills of Eleanor Powell vs. Ann Miller.

 

*Then, Ellie is the best tap dancer by far, but that doesn't really denigrate Ann Miller as a first rate professional,but I'll try to explain why.

 

Both Eleanor Powell and Ann Miller were mentored by The Godfather of Tap Dancing, Mr. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

But it was at the Cotton Club where Bojangles anointed Ellie with the title "The Queen of Tap".

 

 Both had been trained in ballet, however Eleanor Powell was on the level of a professional ballet dancer-- just like Cyd Charisse or Leslie Caron. And just like those two she performed ballet in some MGM movies.

Ellie, was trained by one of the last ballet masters of the Russian Czars--Mikhail Fokine. She went into tap dancing because there was no professional career for an American in the United States in ballet at the time.

She often said that a tap dancer had the feet of a percussionist and the soul of a violinist. 

I always thought that  Miller was a cold, technical tap dancer with no real connection to the emotional feelings of her audience or her art.

Technically  Miller's very good, but I don't think she's as good as Eleanor Powell or Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis jr. Or Gene Kelly.

In all fairness Ann was astoundingly fast. She was always bragging about how many Taps she could do in one  minute--500.

One time in Kansas City, I had the unbelievable Good Fortune of watching her rehearse backstage. She had washer/ jingle Taps on her shoes.  Without getting technical, it's simply that her basic tap was loose, so that it sounded as though she was making more Taps than she was at one time. I really don't know if she used the jingle TAPS in the movies too. 

So That means that instead of the clean Capezio sound that you hear from Ellie or Astaire,

Ann had a loose tap that made clanging double sound.

Tap dancers are judged on the sound of their Taps, just like  a pianist or violinist is judged by the sound of their touch.

 

Ironically both tap dancers met their Nemesis with Busby Berkeley. ( Unfortunately he was the precipitant to the end for Judy Garland at MGM.)

Busby Berkeley directed Ann Miller in Small Town girl with the number "I've Gotta Hear That Beat.

AND Busby Berkeley directed Eleanor Powell in Lady Be Good with the number " Fascinating Rhythm".

To their Dying Days, both dancers had only extreme critical condemnation for the famous musical director.

Ironically, I believe, it's the best work that they both ever did on screen.

 

So, Then-- you watch both numbers on YouTube and you tell me who you think was the best tap dancer or if you think that they were both somewhat equal.

BTW-- "Fascinating Rhythm" was written by the Gershwins for Fred  and Adele Astaire on Broadway for the original  Lady Be Good musical, 1924.

* Then, I'd be curious to know your conclusion, as an artistic connoisseur of the Fine Arts.

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Yes to all the lady dancers mentioned. I love them all! It's nice to have someone mention Mitzi Gaynor's name- I think she so often gets overlooked, probably because she came to movies as musicals were declining (even though she appeared in one of the most famous musicals of the 1950's.)

Can I add one to the list? Marge Champion. I know she is almost exclusively known as half of a partnership, but her few solos, such as the rehearsal number in GIVE A GIRL A BREAK, or Derry Down Dilly from EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS,make me wish there were more of them.

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16 minutes ago, sagebrush said:

Yes to all the lady dancers mentioned. I love them all! It's nice to have someone mention Mitzi Gaynor's name- I think she so often gets overlooked, probably because she came to movies as musicals were declining (even though she appeared in one of the most famous musicals of the 1950's.)

Can I add one to the list? Marge Champion. I know she is almost exclusively known as half of a partnership, but her few solos, such as the rehearsal number in GIVE A GIRL A BREAK, or Derry Down Dilly from EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS,make me wish there were more of them.

Marge is very special indeed.

She was trained by the Ballet Master to the Hollywood studios-- Ernest Belcher.

Ernest also trained Broadway star Gwen Verdon and one of the first Great American Ballerinas, Maria Tallchief.

An early movie choreographer, he was responsible for Jolson's The Jazz Singer and Shirley Temple's The Little Princess.

Ernest Belcher was the ballet master that Hollywood called when they need to be supplied with well-  trained dancers.

BTW--  Ernest Belcher is Marge Belcher Champion's father.

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4 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

Marge is very special indeed.

She was trained by the Ballet Master to the Hollywood studios-- Ernest Belcher.

Ernest also trained Broadway star Gwen Verdon and one of the first Great American Ballerinas, Maria Tallchief.

An early movie choreographer, he was responsible for Jolson's The Jazz Singer and Shirley Temple's The Little Princess.

Ernest Belcher was the ballet master that Hollywood called when they need to be supplied with well-  trained dancers.

BTW--  Ernest Belcher is Marge Belcher Champion's father.

I didn't know Ernest Belcher did the choreography for those films. Shirley Temple's dream sequence in THE LITTLE PRINCESS is really well done. and in my opinion, her best dancing.

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On Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 1:37 PM, Thenryb said:

Another very old thread resurrected. 

Another old thread brought back to life by, yours truly. I wonder why several of these pages were neglected for so long.

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On Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 2:43 PM, Princess of Tap said:

This thread Resurrection is honoring one of the Greatest Tap Dancers to ever appear on film.

That's what this website is all about--Immortal Talent on film.

Rap Tap on Wood-- Eleanor Powell was Born To Tap Dance.

 

Vive the Queen of Tap:  Eleanor Powell !!!

I loved "Rap-a-tap-tap on wood" by Eleanor in Born to dance. She's also one of the only people I ever heard say "Mickey mice", a line she sings in "rap tap". Her dancing, as always, is amazing. I also liked the nice quirky tune "I'm nuts about you" (I like the lyrics "be my pilot on my dreamy islet"), with Eleanor, James Stewart, Buddy Epson, Frances Langford, and Sid Silvers, and the fabulous Una Merkel. More amusing, quirky lines from Una in this film, just like in Broadway melody 36 and 42nd street, I love that girl.

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15 minutes ago, Allenex said:

I loved "Rap-a-tap-tap on wood" by Eleanor in Born to dance. She's also one of the only people I ever heard say "Mickey mice", a line she sings in "rap tap". Her dancing, as always, is amazing. I also liked the nice quirky tune "I'm nuts about you" (I like the lyrics "be my pilot on my dreamy islet"), with Eleanor, James Stewart, Buddy Epson, Frances Langford, and Sid Silvers, and the fabulous Una Merkel. More amusing, quirky lines from Una in this film, just like in Broadway melody 36 and 42nd street, I love that girl.

In the first half of the 20th century, the top American composers of the day wrote for the top tap dancers on Broadway, who eventually all made it to Hollywood.

The Gershwins wrote for Fred  and Adele Astaire on Broadway.  After Adele retired to get married, Cole Porter wrote for Fred Astaire's solo debut on Broadway.

For Eleanor Powell's  MGM tap dancing debut, Louis B. Mayer hired the very best to write for her: Cole Porter.

He was unique, along with Irving Berlin, in that he wrote both lyrics and music.

For Ellie's  MGM debut he wrote this fantastic Born To Dance score - -

which started with " Rap Tap on Wood", continuing on to "Easy To Love", straight through to Frank Sinatra's favorite swing tune--

"I've Got You Under My Skin"-- and ending up with the booming Grand Finale number, "Swingin the Jinx Away".

Few people actually realize that a large part of our Great American Songbook was written just for tap dancers like Eleanor Powell, Fred Astaire, Ruby Keeler, Bojangles, Shirley Temple and Gene Kelly.

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PrincessOTap said: I always thought that Miller was a cold, technical tap dancer with no real connection to the emotional feelings of her audience or her art. Technically Miller's very good, but I don't think she's as good as Eleanor Powell or Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis jr. Or Gene Kelly. In all fairness Ann was astoundingly fast. She was always bragging about how many Taps she could do in one minute--500.

I never noticed until my Mother pointed it out to me- Ann Miller is always the only one dancing on screen. Apparently, her contract was written that way. You have to admire anyone who could write a stipulation like that and make the studio bend to your wishes.

PS it was thrilling to see this gown in the John LeBold Collection:

easter-parade-miller-feather-dress.jpg

Ann Miller is a joy to watch dancing on screen-I love her smiling face, bouncing hair and her body seems just perfectly proportioned (similar to Cyd Charisse) In contrast, although Eleanor Powell is the superior dancer, her expression looks more forced than joyous and she has an oddly proportioned figure.
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