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November 05, 2015


My favorite movie dance is Fred Astaire's Bo Jangles of Harlem number in Swing Time. He's paying homage to the famous and brilliant Bill Robinson. The choreography is brilliant. Astaire is unstoppable, he seems to barely touch the dance floor, and this at the end of roughly ten minutes of grueling energetic dancing! I think his use of the shadows is among early special-effects. And a few years ago I saw his influence on Mark Morris, in a dance where the male dancer partners with a row of twenty or so females, one behind the other. There's a lot to say about "Bojangles." Find it on youtube and then find a clip of Bill Robinson and you will see how Astaire is paying tribute.

David.You make my grey skies blue. These songs make up the fabric of my life--
the beautiful illusions that are there for our taking. I cry when I hear any one of them because they're the dreams we're left with.

I'll just do one riposte, David: Your list of great dance moments (except for America) generally skews to the individual performer rather than the group. I'd add the three couple dance in On the Town and, especially, the barn-raising sequence from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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