This week, Susanne and I hosted dinner for a couple of friends from dancing. As we were talking, we discovered that our friends knew of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, but had never really seen them dance! We were shocked, and quickly went to work to rectify this glaring absence in their dance knowledge. Here is a clip to the only piece that Fred and Gene danced together on film.
One of the things that fascinates me is how different each of these men dance. Fred Astaire had a small frame, and was light on his feet. Gene Kelly had the stocky shoulders of a football player, and pounded into the floor. Each dancer’s body type contributes to their personal style. The same holds true for lindy hoppers as well.
While I wish I had the muscular athleticism of a Gene Kelly, I have come to accept that I’m built a little closer to Fred Astaire (or maybe a Donald O’Connor). My dancing tends to be light and fluid, and I’ve learned how to make the most of that. In classes, Susanne and I can teach all of the fundamentals, but we can only demonstrate the ways our own bodies move. Our hope is that as you explore dancing, you watch other dancers, watch video clips, and experiment to find that expression of dancing that is built on solid fundamentals, and that fits your body and allows you to be expressive. We can’t tell you what that looks like, but we know it will be amazing.
This particular article was originally written in October of 2010 for our local scene in Annapolis.