It's been a while since I did the first of my "Stars of Vintage Dance" series post. So that's what this post is! But now I'm letting the fellas in on the fun!
So here is the dance duo that EVERYONE thinks about when they think of vintage dance and old school musicals...
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
Fred Astaire- ( May 10, 1899 – June 22, 1987) What can I say about him?! He was the absolute best at his craft. When I watch anything he's dancing in I get caught up looking at his technique and his stage presence. He just oozed confidence, poise and elegance. His dancing definitely made him swoon worthy in my opinion. During his dance and film career he made a total of 31 films and was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.
Fred was born Frederick Austerlitz in Nebraska to a American mother and Austrian father. He had an older sister, Adele, who he danced with in his early career. Fred and Adele appeared on Broadway and on London stages in productions such as "Funny Face" and "The Band Wagon. The partnership split when Adele married and Fred Astaire went on to become the song and dance man we know today!
Ginger Rogers-July 16, 1911 – April 25, 1995) What a beauty!!!!! I LOVE Ginger Rogers. She was always so incredibly classy and elegant when she danced. A dancer, actor and singer, she was the complete triple threat.
Ginger (whose real name was Virginia Katherine McMath ) was born in Missouri. Her mother, a theater critic helped peak Ginger's interest in performing. As a teenager Ginger won a Charleston dance contest which allowed her to go on tour. She married at age 17 to another dancer and they formed a short lived Vaudeville act. They divorced months later and she went back on tour. She became famous at 19 years old in the Broadway show "Girl Crazy".
Ginger's most famous partnership was of course with Fred Astaire. They made 9 movies together. (I've seen every one of them!)
Fred and Ginger's partnership was what dreams were made of. They complimented each other in every way. Where Fred was known as first and foremost a dancer and an actor a distant second, Ginger was an amazing actress first and a dancer secondly. They just meshed well. It's rare that a partnership that organic is made. You could tell that they enjoyed moving together when they danced. Their chemistry was undeniable. You really felt like they were courting or married (or whatever the case was in the film).
I think my favorite movie of theirs is "The Barkleys of Broadway" (1949). Such a good movie. This movie was done after Ginger and Fred had stopped dancing together for 10 years. Rogers was pulled in late in movie production to fill in for an unreliable Judy Garland.
In the film Fred and Ginger play Josh and Dinah Barkley, a husband-wife comedy act. The couple splits when Dinah is persuaded to do dramatic roles by a smooth talking French playwright. Dinah is cast in a show as a serious actress. Josh sneaks into a rehearsal of the show and he sees her struggling and feels bad for her. He is, after all, still in love with her. Over the telephone he pretends to be the French playwright and coaches her through the role. She is a success and finds out it was really Josh coaching her and of course, this brings them back together.
This is a fantastic film. Ginger's acting in the role is absolutely Divine. The dance numbers are breathtaking. Especially "You Can't Take That Away From Me". It makes me tear up every time. If you haven't seen it, try to find it on Netflix or Amazon. You won't be sorry.
Well, That's it for this dancing doll and her "Dancing Guys and Dolls" post. Stay tuned in thr coming months for more. Hopefully I can get in everyone's favorite dancers!
Until next time dolls (those that dance and those that don't)