2 3 Throwback Thursday and Eleanor Powell | Ballet Webb

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday and Eleanor Powell

Throwback Thursday and Eleanor Powell

Today is the birthday of Eleanor Powell, the famous tap dancer and movie star who had ten formal tap lessons.  She was born on November 21, 1912 and died in 1982.  Discovered on an Atlantic City beach, she had trained in ballet and acrobatics, but not tap.  After performing in nightclubs and vaudeville circuits during the 1920s, she realized that some formal tap classes would be necessary if she wanted to perform on Broadway.  So she enrolled with Jack Donahue and Johnny Doyle, and in 1929 made her Broadway debut in Follow Thru.

Eleanor Powell is best known for her work in the movies.  She was discovered by Louis B. Mayer, who launched her career in the movies in Broadway Melody of 1936.  Her most famous number is Begin the Bequine from Broadway Melody of 1940 which also starred Fred Astaire.  

Not bad for someone who started with only a few formal tap classes!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #7:

“Eleanor Powell was a famous tap dancer who had ten formal tap lessons.”


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-Audrey Hepburn


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