Just the musings of a small-town professional ballerina, business owner, wife, and beagle mama as she attempts to make it through this thing called life.

Apr 14, 2014

Amanda Howard On: The Glamorous Dancers of the Silver Screen

Returning to A Dancer's Days is the wonderful, Amanda Howard. Some of you may know her already from her previous delightfully informative articles, but if not here are a few things to know about Amanda. She is 18, like me, and she is a ballet blogger, dance teacher, is in the process of writing a dance book, and even owns her own dance studio: Praise Him With a Dance. Listed below is her blog, website, and Facebook page.

Movie musicals reached their height of fame during the first half of the 20th century and we found captivating new dance icons that blew us away. Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse, Mitzi Gaynor, Judy Garland, and Leslie Caron to name a few. They made the dancing look effortless and looked as though they were floating. They were the pioneers who set the stage for Hollywood’s dance-film genre with famous routines such as Singin’ in the Rain (Kelly), Cheek to Cheek (Astaire), and We’re off to see the Wizard (Garland). All of these fabulous dancers danced to have fun and used it to inspire creativity in others. They made even the un-coordinated and “2 left feet” folks want to get up and dance too.

We will always remember Fred Astaire dancing on the walls and ceiling in Royal Wedding, Audrey Hepburn doing her crazy mixed up dance in Funny Face, the frontier guys dancing to impress the girls in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Donald O’Connor flipping off the walls in Make ‘Em Laugh, Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins, and of course Gene Kelly soaked through while “singin’ and dancing in the rain.”

Fred Astaire is sometimes characterized as Mr. Elegance. He was delicate and graceful but powerful. Every time he danced, there was a story attached to it, full of emotion. Gene Kelly was strong and athletic. He could lift a lady and dance with her in his arms as if she were nothing but a feather. Let’s also not forget his signature move, the airplane. In American in Paris we see him do 12 or more in succession!

The women of the screen were beautiful and poised. Ginger Rogers was at her best alongside Fred Astaire, making them one of the most famous dancing couples. Her ballroom dancing was graceful and her tap, fun and exciting. Then we go to Judy Garland. Her voice and dance moves that could never be equaled. There are no words to describe how incredible she was! Her dancing was energetic and so much fun to watch.

Inspiring and oh so unforgettable! We are thankful that they have left behind their wonderful movies for us to enjoy.

I encourage you dancers out there to be inspiring. To encourage others to find joy and creativity in dance with your movements and expressions. I encourage you to tell a story with your dance and to have fun with it. I think that as ballerinas we tend to get too serious. Sometimes we need to let loose and just have fun. Our role is to inspire and give back to others using our talents. I hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! I’ll see you next month.
Amanda E. H.
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”
-Judy Garland
“The finest all-around performer we ever had in America was Judy Garland. There was no limit to her talent. She was the quickest, brightest person I ever worked with.”
-Gene Kelly
“You know, that Kelly, he's just terrific. That's all there is to it. He dances like crazy, he directs like crazy. I adore this guy. I really am crazy about his work.”
-Fred Astaire
“I suppose I made it look easy, but gee whiz, did I work and worry.”
-Fred Astaire
“The most important thing in anyone's life is to be giving something. The quality I can give is fun, joy and happiness. This is my gift.”
-Ginger Rogers
“I adore the man. I always have adored him. It was the most fortunate thing that ever happened to me, being teamed with Fred: he was everything a little starry-eyed girl from a small town ever dreamed of.”
-Ginger Rogers
“I never wanted to be a dancer. It's true! I wanted to be a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.”
-Gene Kelly
“Fred could never do the lifts Gene did and never wanted to. I'd say they were the two greatest dancing personalities who were ever on the screen. Each has a distinctive style. Each is a joy to work with. But it's like comparing apples and oranges. They're both delicious.”
-Cyd Charisse
“If I had to give up either acting or dancing, I'd choose to keep dancing.”
-Cyd Charisse
“Dancing is still the hardest profession. Gene Kelly said dancing is a man's game Women have to do the same thing in heels, and have to sing and smile at the same time. Professional athletes don't even have to do that - and they get to wear sneakers.”
-Mitzi Gaynor

Thank you so much to Amanda Howard for the wonderful article. Stay tuned readers for a recap of my 15 shows of Cinderella experience, articles about performance etiquette, backstage rituals, and so much more. Thank you for staying with me even when I was unable to post.

All my best,

Rhiannon -

Back From The Dead!

Gotta love antibiotics.

For about a week I was suffering from a bad case of pneumonia as well as bronchitis. If that's not bad enough, put it right at the beginning of a run of 15 shows of the three act ballet, Cinderella. Yeah, you can say I wasn't a happy camper.

But here we are, ten shows deep, and I'm back! I'll be posting pictures and articles again ASAP.

Stay tuned for a wonderful guest post by Amanda Howard.

Thanks, readers!

 Rhiannon -

Apr 2, 2014


Hello, all. Just wanted to let you know that I've been out of commission for a while now because I have been very sick. Yesterday I was diagnosed with bronchitis as well as walking pneumonia. Hopefully, with the help of some heavy antibiotics, I'll be up and running again by the start of next week.

Thanks for continuing to read and check in, lovelies!

Rhiannon -