It’s one thing to know how to do a pirouette. It’s another to know how to do a pirouette and know how that step came to be and the dancers in history who did it best. I believe in well-rounded dancers who not only can do the steps but also know dance history and the dance greats that came to shape the dance world as we know it today. Therefore, I would like to spotlight some of the dance greats in our wonderful history.
First up is the one and only Fred Astaire. Half of the world famous duo “Fred and Ginger”, Fred Astaire is known throughout the world for his smooth, debonair dance style. He was born on May 10, 1899 in Omaha, Nebraska. He began dancing with his sister at age 10 and performed on the Vaudeville circuit until reaching the Broadway stage in 1917. After unsuccessfully attempting a film career for many years, Fred landed an RKO film contract in 1933. Once he was partnered up with Ginger Rogers, the rest was history, and Fred became a film legend. In all, Fred Astaire appeared in 212 musical numbers, of which 133 contain fully developed dance routines.
5 Must See Fred Astaire films (pop yourself and your dancer some popcorn and settle down for an evening of Fred Astaire):
- Top Hat (1935) – The quintessential Fred & Ginger film. This funny tale of misunderstandings and mistaken identities will keep you laughing while the dancing will leave you in awe.
- Swing Time (1936) – Dancing, singing, and a love triangle….what more could you want?
- Royal Wedding (1951) – My personal favorite. Features Fred in his famous ceiling/wall dance.
- The Towering Inferno (1974) – Not a musical, but Fred was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.
- Silk Stockings (1957) – Musical meets spy movie.