"Everything Fred Astaire did, Ginger Rogers did in high heels backwards. It makes Ginger sound superhuman unless you are in on the secret that wearing high heels actually helps you follow a dance lead.
The heels tip your body weight forward so you can share the leader's axis of balance without actually leaning too hard on him (or her if she's one of those fabulous women who know both parts). They also keep you on the ball of your foot ready to pivot or step in any direction while the flat-shod leader sticks to the floor, a stable and grounded center to keep you from tottering over."
And I have heard her tell of the studios furnishing her shoes. She tried to get them to get the right size and they wouldn't do it. Her feet were so sore and bleeding every day she danced. I don't see how anyone could dance with such sore feet. I bet Fred had what he wanted.
I really do think that the man has the harder job in ballroom/partnered dancing. Yes, high-heels-and-backwards, but he's leading. Leading is HARD.
I've heard tell that working with Fred Astaire was pretty hard on his co-stars (Gene Kelly, also) as he was a demanding perfectionist and was not very patient if you couldn't keep up or didn't pick up a step instantly. Still, obviously, when he got what he wanted it looked d*mn good, so can you blame him?
I love him in "Holiday Inn" with Bing Crosby. Particularly his solo on the Fourth of July, with fireworks.
(OMG! Someone under 30 has heard of and seen Fred Astaire! Though, I confess, possibly because he had a thing for those fifteen-minute balletic interludes, I'm more of a Gene Kelly girl...)
As for Torvill and Dean: no wondering. The man was and is a total perfectionist, but apparently Jayne has a talent for tolerating him on the ice. I know that on the one hand I would kill for a lesson from him, and on the other hand it would likely only end in a complete nervous collapse on my part!
And yay for balletic interludes! (Except "The Red Shoes." Good ballet, but it's like "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" on toe shoes.)
Fred and Ginger? Yeah, I know who they were. The former was married to Ethel and the latter shared a hut with Maryanne.:o
We do tend to discriminate in couples that one is better than the other. Does it matter if it works?
I would discriminate if the artistry didn't work because of one particular person.
That is really sad news about her feet being so brutalized by the shoes the studio suplied. She was definitely a tough gal too.
The Movie with Audrey was Funny Face, I think the main song from that dictated the need to have at least a kiss - "Let's Kiss and Make-up."
Actually, I think Judy Garland was the best. I remember Fred telling that she was the fastest learner he had ever seen and something about being the best dancer. He just couldn't believe how fast she picked everything up.
Both Fred and Gene were gentlemen and would never say who was their best partner. Fred slipped once and mentioned Vera Ellen.
Seanibu - If your theory is correct that one partner is better than the other, who was the stronger dancer with Torvahl and Dean?
I'm not Sean, but I can answer that. Jayne was a great technical skater, but Chris was better overall. He was not only a great technician (I'd say they were evenly matched in things like skating skill), but he had more of the artistic/presenation side. I still remember hearing one commentator somewhere on my tapes of them say that it was so unusual with a dance team where you wanted to watch the man as much as the woman. (Think of teams like N/K, or of course F-P/M--do you ever really watch Roman or Maurizio except to see if they're making a mistake?) A more current case--Belbin/Agosto. Ben is the better skater. Tanith is sort of the flip side of Jayne Torvill--she has stage presence, but her technique isn't as good as her partner's and it's often obvious.
Torvill and Dean are rather like Fred & Ginger--they just kind of hit the perfect balance between partners where, yeah, one might be said to be 'better' than the other, but they work so well together it doesn't matter. 99% of teams out there, on ice or in ballroom/show dancing, that's not the case--it does matter, because even laypeople can see one is better.
I said it thinking that it would be a given and did understand if there was a question about it really, or just a "knowledge drill." And I wasn't sure how to answer that question and do them both "justice," thanks JVC - I could have never said it so well. Jayne Had her own strengths in being able to skate with such a strong personality (should not be underestimated) from what I hear of Chris.
It is not a huge margin of "so much better" in my mind for any team. But there is a "Lead." Of course I do take into consideration that it takes a "talent" to follow as well. But a "follow and a follow just don't get as far" without a lead even if the "follow" had more of the tallent.
Also with the Ben and Tanith comment Particularly after seeing him skate a little with Irina at COI.
ETA, My statement was a generalized one not saying that it was always the case.
Last edited by SeaniBu; 08-31-2006 at 11:38 AM.