2 3 Throwback Thursday and Fred Astaire | Ballet Webb

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Fred Astaire

Throwback Thursday and Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire’s screen test for MGM was, to say the least, not encouraging.  The MGM testing director supposedly wrote the following:  “Can’t act.  Can’t sing.  Slightly balding.  Can dance a little.”  Despite this, Fred Astaire went on to become a famous dancer, choreographer, innovator, musician, singer, and actor.   He made 31 musical films, plus several television specials.  His career lasted for 76 years and he was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film institute.
His early career involved performing with his sister Adele, touring the U.S. and playing in various venues, and also performing for U.S. and Allied troops.  The couple then appeared on Broadway and in London stage shows.  When Adele married in 1932, Fred Astaire began going it alone.
He achieved his greatest fame when paired with Ginger Rogers in a series of film musicals such as Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, Swing Time and Shall We Dance to name just a few.
He is also credited with two ground-breaking ideas in the early film musicals:  1. Dance routines must be filmed in a single shot and the dancers must be seen at all times; and 2. All plot lines must be seamlessly incorporated into the plot of the musical.
All this from someone who “can dance a little”! 

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #14:
“Fred Astaire was a famous dancer in early film musicals who was also a great choreographic innovator.” 

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