When you think of movies featuring great dancers, the first name that comes to mind is Fred Astaire, founder of Fred Astaire Franchised Dance studios. Often partnered with the gifted Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire brought fabulous moves, smooth sophistication and romance to the big screen. And, of course, Ginger Rogers did the same – backwards, in high heels. We are in the middle of Festival at the St. Pete North Studio and we are celebrating Fred Astaire movies!
As we hunker down in the fall and winter seasons and turn to some feel-good movies on TV, we’re naturally inclined here to suggest a few that highlight outstanding dancing, especially by the beloved Fred Astaire.
Let’s return to those wonderful days of classy nightclubs and elegant formal dress for a minute as we tune in to …
Funny Face (1957): A shop clerk (Audrey Hepburn) emerges as a sudden modeling star during an impromptu photo shoot. Fred Astaire plays photographer Dick Avery, who discovers Audrey Hepburn in the background of one of the pictures.
Top Hat (1935): The first Astaire film with Ginger Rogers. Fred Astaire is working on dance steps late one night in a hotel room in London and the noise awakens the woman in the room below (Ginger Rogers). She confronts him and eventually romance (and confusion and dancing) emerge.
Holiday Inn (1942): At a hotel that is only open for the holidays, a singer (Bing Crosby) and dancer (Fred Astaire) compete for the heart of a novice performer (Marjorie Reynolds).
Saturday Night Fever (1977): A Brooklyn, N.Y. streetwise paint salesman (John Travolta) becomes a local legend during the disco era. If you enjoy line dancing, there’s plenty to see, along with Travolta’s bravura performance as a burgeoning dance star.
Dirty Dancing (1987): Resort guest Frances “Baby” Houseman gets a summer education in dancing and love from Johnny (Patrick Swayze), a hotel waiter. Great ending with “Time of My Life” as the hotel and staff all dance.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952): Hollywood in the 1920s is transitioning from silent pictures to “talkies” and the stars – Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds – deal with it as best they can. Kelly’s performance in the title song is about as good as it gets.
The Little Colonel (1935): Shirley Temple and tap star Bill “Bojangles” Robinson made a series of films. This one includes the iconic scene where they dance up a flight of stairs. Shirley Temple was 7 at the time, Robinson 57.
There are so many more great dance films – no list could include them all. We’d recommend Flashdance (1983), Footloose (1984), Step Up (2006) and Billy Elliott (2000) as well as the ones above.
Let the dancing in these great movies inspire you. Bring some of that confidence and spark with you to your local Fred Astaire Dance Studio and light up your life on the dance floor.