Happy late birthday celebration to actor, singer, and - above all - dancer, Cyd Charisse. Cyd would have been 101 yesterday on March 8th. She passed in 2008.
If you've only heard of Ginger Rogers as the ideal dance partner, that's a fact. No shade on Ginger. But I can only encourage you to look into Cyd's work. There's no one else like her in movies.
Charisse was a force of nature as much as Astaire and Kelly, and while she didn't play the lead as often, she was in demand to work alongside them and she carried a few of her own films. Graced with a physique that allowed her to be athletic, graceful and sexy as hell. And, man, was she talented. Thus, she moved seamlessly through dance genres and eras, always a highlight of the film's in which she appeared, even if just for a sequence.
Speaking of - she's the femme fatale in Singin' in the Rain's "Broadway Melody" movie within a movie, one of film's most justifiably memorable sequences.
From "Broadway Melody":
which pairs well with "The Girl Hunt Ballet" from The Band Wagon with Astaire.
which segues us to "Dancing in the Dark".
Cyd Charisse is not solely responsible for my interest in checking out musicals that predate my birth, but she certainly was a key feature as I looked for her work quite often in my early days of classic film exploration.
I do recommend her movie Party Girl in which she plays a starring role, but she's also the lead as girl gone bad!
Happy belated b-day, Cyd.
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