Old Twinkle Toes

There’s nothing I like better than flicking through the channels on a rainy Sunday afternoon and finding an old Hollywood Musical. So imagine my joy when I stumbled upon Royal Wedding starring the most fabulous Fred Astaire.

I love watching Fred dance and could happily do so all day. So much has been written about him and his career that I could write pages and pages. So I have chosen some of my favourite things to share.

  • Fred started dancing professionally at the age of 6, meaning his amazing career of dancing, acting, choreographing, singing, television presenting and teaching spanned over 8 decades.
  • The notes made after his first screen test evaluation read…. “Can’t act, can’t sing. balding, can dance a little”. He was signed on at RKO by David O Selznick who was won over by Fred’s charm.
  • He had very large hands so he curled his middle fingers while he danced to make them appear smaller on screen.
  • Before Fred came along dance was filmed using many takes and camera angles, he changed that with long takes and wide shots so it was like watching a performance in it’s entirety.
  • Ginger Rogers starred with Fred in 10 films. In Swing Time he serenaded Ginger while she washed her hair with “The way you look tonight”, which is one of my favourite songs. It won an Academy award for best original song in 1937.
  • His last but one screen performance was on Battlestar Galactica, he agreed to do it because his grandchildren were fans of the show.
  • Fred Astaire was the very first name to be listed on IMDb (nm 0000001).
  • Fred and Ginger are buried in the same cemetery, Oakwood Memorial Park in California.

One of the 2 dances I learnt while doing the On Broadway dance course was Top hat, white tie and tails. This was definitely my favourite dance and we had so much fun learning and performing it. While we did our very best,  there is no one quite like Fred when it comes to dancing, so enjoy….

 

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