For years, my gold standard for dance in movie musicals was Fred Astaire, a favorite of my mother’s who passed along her appreciation.
Years ago, I did the same, relying on Swing Time, Top Hat and the rest of the cannon to get through a long week with my younger daughter, both of us laid low by flu.
Below you can watch Fred with Ginger Rogers (and remember the remark, “Ginger did everything Fred did but she did it backwards and in heels.)
Then I went to an evening devoted to Gene Kelly, presented by Patricia Ward Kelly, his third wife, a woman forty-seven years (yes, you read correctly) his junior. My impression was of a certain kind of love in the relationship but sensed that Ms. Ward Kelly was as much amanuensis as wife, on hand to capture Gene’s every word and memory in longhand, on videotape and even scrawled on sugar packets. Wearing fancy gloves to protect her hands as she’s an enthusiastic pre- and post- event greeter, Ms. WK showed film clips and reminisced about her life with the dancer.
I had never fully appreciated Kelly’s tremendous versatility. With Astaire you got precision, elegance and classy style–always. Kelly, trained in gymnastics, tap, Spanish dancing, modern dance, ballet and more, had a distinctive, muscular quality– not surprising as he was a superb athlete who originally wanted to play shortstop for his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates. (Little known facts: Kelly went to the U. of Pittsburgh Law School. At that time, he began teaching dance at a local synagogue, a gig that lasted seven years.) Here is a video of him tap dancing on roller skates from It’s Always Fair Weather.
Both men were perfectionists although Astaire is said to have been self-punishing in his quest for exactitude while Kelly wanted everything right but was less difficult. Astaire’s work is all elegance; Kelly’s exudes joy. How lucky we are to be able to watch the fancy footwork of both men thanks to technology!
Instead of a typical recipe, here are three healthy snacks for dancers (or anyone else) who burns calories like mad. The material comes courtesy of health and nutrition coach Kathi Martuza : http://www.danceadvantage.net/healthy-snacks/
1. Avocado Toast: toast 1 slice whole-wheat bread (gluten free if you must.) Smear 1/2 ripe avocado on top, lightly salt and pepper.
2. Nut/fruit Combo: Combine almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, mango, pineapple with a few dark chocolate chips. Make a very scant handful. This is high calorie but if you’ve been rehearsing for hours…
3. Protein and Veggie roll: Lay flat a slice of oven-roasted turkey or chicken breast. In the center add 1 slice of “quality” cheese (i.e., no Kraft singles!) , a slice of avocado and a few slices of cucumber. Roll up and eat.
Now get out those tap shoes!