Sunday, March 28, 2010

Every once in a while I suddenly find myself dancing.

Well, by now it's no secret, I suppose.

1. Fred Astaire

Favorite solo: "Let's Say It With Firecrackers" in Holiday Inn. [Embedding disabled. Gosh darn it!]

"Don't Let It Bother You" in The Gay Divorcee follows a close second.

Oh, and the hat rack dance is way up there too.

Favorite ever dance: "Pick Yourself Up" in Swing Time (again, this changes all the time)

So, the question remains. Why is Fred Astaire my very favorite male dancer? I'm really quite partial to the top hat and tails man. I love the class. I love his style. What does his photo say in Follow the Fleet? "Genteel dancing and high class patter?" I think. That's what I love. In my opinion, Fred Astaire was pretty sexy in his dancing. But not in the athletic, passionate way. He was quietly intense, gentlemanly, subtle. I love his romantic side, as in "Night and Day" and "Never Gonna Dance." And I love his fun side as in "Drum Crazy" and "Shine On Your Shoes." He had the grace for ballet and the rhythm for tap down to a science. I like the way he curled his fingers in because he thought his hands were too big. I like how, even in a jazz ballet, he retains his class and stature.

He didn't wander too much into the everyday-type character. Follow the Fleet was a rare exception and he manages to find himself in fancy clothes even as a sailor. But even when he's chewing gum, ordering beer, playing the piano with rolled up sleeves and a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, there was something classy about him. I love that!

He wasn't one for grit, but then neither am I. Which is why I think he's my favorite. I love the athleticism and sex appeal of Gene Kelly and Bob Fosse, but Mr. Top Hat and Tails will always have my heart.

So, there you have it. My #1 top favorite male dancer of all time. I hope you've enjoyed this list! I'll post the list in its entirety tomorrow.


  1. Good pick! I really can't pick between Fred and Gene - depends on my mood I guess. So its not a solo but you didn't mention one of my favorite routines. "How Could I Believe Ya When I Said I Loved Ya" From Royal Wedding!

  2. Fred is definitely my favorite male dancer, too. For me, though, it's not much of a contest.. not a huge Gene Kelly fan (incoming tomatoes from all corners of the classic film blogosphere...) And even when Fred ventured into the experimental dancing in the 50's, like shoes with wings on, etc. it's still so incredibly classy! *sigh* I just adore him! :D

  3. I love Fred Astaire, even more than Gene Kelly! I agree, Fred is so classy, and the two have such different styles of dancing even though it may seem similar! Fred just seems more classy and elegant, yet fun and experimental at the same time! HAHAHAHA I was totally laughing at the firecracker dance! It was just so random and creative! Oh I have such a difficult time picking out my favorite dances of his, but definitely the one in Follow the Fleet, I think it's called I'm Picking Up All My Eggs In One Basket, and that one in Swing Dance of course, oh and in Shall We Dance where Fred mixes his ballet dancing with tap-dancing and totally shocks Ginger. Ahh the list is so endless, I'm sure we could spend hours discussing our favorite dances of his! Oh and we can't forget the one where he dances on the ceiling!

  4. I'm with you!!! Class wins every time. Besides, I think that while Kelly and Fosse were fabulous dancers, Astaire became an icon...something to be said about that!

  5. My heart belongs to Kelly! Gene Kelly brought the artistry of filmed dance to the public. He recognized that in film, not controlling how the dance was filmed was akin to a poorly executed dance. His finest dances are an interplay of movement, light, space and color., a true feast for the eyes and the heart.

  6. Deb, while you are right that Kelly did all that, Astaire did it first. He directed how his dances were filmed and spurred the techniques, such as a low dolly called the "Astaire Dolly", to make filming of the dance smooth and unobtrusive. His dances were a feast for the eyes and the heart. He could not get the studios to produce his films in color (too expensive) until he got the MGM in 1944, but he wanted the color very badly. They were both terrific choreographers and dance directors that made filmed versions of dance not just accessible but vibrantly beautiful.


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