Dance in Film: Fred and Ginger

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I’ve been dreaming of Fred Astaire since Alistair Macaulay, Chief Dance Critic at the New York Times, lectured on Astaire in my Dance in Film class. Fred Astaire not only set a standard for dance, but for dance on film as well. From the dancer’s perspective, his movies are a dream in that they are all shot full frame and in as long of takes as possible. This clip from “Roberta” is a wonderful example. You can see that it is all done in one cut from the 1:00 min. mark to the moment they collapse on the chairs (and you can hear Ginger Rogers giggling throughout). In Macaulay’s words, “There is not a lot of work for the cameras to do.”

Macaulay also brought up the issue of spontaneity- something that exists in live performance but is so easily lost on film. Here, Astaire and Rogers look completely fresh despite the obvious extensive rehearsals.

Let the dancers do the dancing! \"Hard to Handle\"

On another note, I cannot wait to start taking tap next semester!

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