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Samizdata quote of the day

That Cyd! When you’ve danced with her you stay danced with.

– Fred Astaire, talking about Cyd Charisse. Quoted in the TV show Darcey Bussell Dances Hollywood, shown this afternoon on BBC2.

10 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Laird

    I loved Cyd Charisse. In addition to being a great dancer she was also a fine singer.

  • veryretired

    A reminder of the glamor and grace that seems to have largely gone out of the modern world, at least the public one.

    Thank heaven the boss has enough of both for several women.

    The good fortune that brought her into my life is one of the enduring mysteries of the universe.

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)


    They included that clip in the TV show, emphasising how much it influenced Michael Jackson and his choreographers, one of whom was featured on the show. I hadn’t realised until now that Jackson and Astaire actually met, shortly before Astaire’s death.

    The reason I didn’t know this is that although I admire it when done really well, I am not that fascinated by dance. I often greatly enjoy TV documentaries, such as this one, about activities which I like only rather casually. I actually learn more from such shows that devotees would, because they already know most of it.

  • mose jefferson

    The dancing in Hollywoods golden era was unabashedly joyful and optimistic, back when such films were still widely accepted. Plus, you had all these multitalented performers left over from the days of vaudeville.

    If I could pay to just have the Turner Classic Movies channel, I would own a tv.

    Don’t forget that Ginger Rogers and Cyd Charisse could do what Fred Astaire did, but in high heels.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Eleanor Powell and Cyd Charisse…the best of the best when it comes to the female movie dancers. Seeing them makes me feel I’ve died and gone to heaven!

    “The dancing in Hollywoods golden era was unabashedly joyful….”

    You said it, mose!

  • Indeed. We are not even getting Turner here, Mose, and so no reason to reinstall cable at all. And Julie, the high heels – indeed. I can’t even pull off a decent walk across the room in those tings, let alone dance. Hell, I can barely dance when bare-footed.

    Brian: I love dance, and I didn’t know that about Astaire and Jackson – but I am not surprised at all. I always admired Jackson for his dancing much more than for his singing, and the same, of course, goes for Astaire. Both were OK singers, but it was the almost mystical connection between their brains and their feet that was so captivating. Also, I think it was Jackie Chan who cited Astaire’s dancing and the rest of those old Hollywood musicals as the major influence on the choreography of his numerous “fighting” scenes.

    Now that I think about those three, Jackson comes out as an exception in that he lacked the humor that the other two have in common. I guess it’s the sign of the time and the place.

  • Laird

    Add Gene Kelly to those who were terrific dancers but only OK singers. Kelly stayed on pitch but I always thought his voice was rather thin and reedy. Danny Kaye was also better at both than he was ever given credit for.

    There are still talanted singer/dancers around today. Check out the movie version of “Chicago”. Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones all did their own singing and dancng, and although they basically had to choreograph around Gere the other two (especially Zeta-Jones) are great dancers. Who knew?

  • Indeed Laird, “Chicago” was an extraordinary accomplishment in that regard.

    Danny Kaye is on of my all-time favorites. He reminded me of the great Donald O’Connor (including his face, BTW – although it could be just me). O’Connor though was probably a better dancer, while Kaye was much more impressive as a comic actor.


  • Laird

    Agreed, Alisa.