Fred Astaire Research Paper

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Another significant artist of the 1930’s and 1940’s dance in film era was performer and choreographer Fred Astaire. Berkeley and Astaire were already contrasting since one had never danced before and the other had danced his entire life, but also, Astaire drew from a completely different motivation than Berkeley when performing and choreographing dance for film. Since Astaire’s background included several varieties of dance, he pursued advanced partnership choreography as opposed to large-scale choreography sets. He also utilized dance numbers to expand the narrative as opposed to Berkeley, who treated the numbers as a suspension of the plot (Dodds 6). Berkeley’s pieces are relevant to the plot, though not exactly necessary; therefore, creations…show more content…
Astaire accomplished this concept of the integrated musical with mass amounts of rehearsal. In fact, Astaire had a reputation of being an extreme perfectionist to the point that he would become a hypercritical worrier and see flaws where his peers could not. Audiences never suspected this attitude from him because on camera, he had such a breezy and charming personality, but in fact, he only had this personality as a result of his extensive rehearsal (“Fred Astaire” 2). Astaire’s other techniques of choreographing include his intention for movement to be seen clearly while performing and his dislike of special effects and different viewing perspectives that Berkeley so enjoyed. Astaire preferred a tighter shot that specifically focused on the dancer and not as much on scenery and props. (Dodds 6). This camera technique Astaire utilized supports his belief of an audience member experiencing the dancer’s personality and expression of movement during a piece in order to truly gain a sense of plot advancement and…show more content…
Audiences were more concerned with his appearance and not to mention Astaire was disapproved of at the beginning of his career without Adele. Audiences adored Adele and her personality on stage thus when she left Fred his options became limited. He could either travel to London, where stars in his genre were already established and take a chance at being the underdog or risk his entire career in Hollywood (Croce 13). Astaire was at a disadvantage from the start of his solo career, but his intense work ethic set him apart from other artists and made him dependable. This trait is also one I believe to greatly contribute to audience’s initial acceptance to Astaire’s work. I believe Astaire’s greatest barrier to stardom is his unconventional movie star looks. Fred Astaire was not the ideal image of a handsome and suave man similar to the Hollywood stars of his time such as James Stewart and John Boles. Astaire legends even proclaim during Astaire’s screen test that the following comment was made about Astaire “ Can’t act. Can’t sing. Balding. Can dance a little” (Croce 14). Hollywood was completely against Astaire and these obstacles are what motivated him to rise to the top. It is problematical for me to form an opinion concerning how I would have felt towards Astaire in his time because knowing how successful he

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