Fred Astaire, a dancer and film star recognized for his successful musicals throughout the 1930s and 1940s, is widely considered one of the best American dancers of all time, even though he was self-conscious about his hands, which were large in comparison with his frame. He believed that his big hands were distracting and did not look graceful enough when he danced, particularly in more elegant forms like ballet. Astaire took careful measures to disguise his hands while dancing, such as placing his third and fourth fingers on top of one another and curling his hands to make them look smaller. Videos of Astaire’s dance routines can reveal the ways he minimized the appearance of his hands.
More about Fred Astaire:
- His birthname was Frederick Austerlitz. He was born on 10 May 1899 and died on 22 June 1987.
- Astaire’s legs reportedly were insured for $1 million US Dollars (USD).
- The only Academy Award nomination Astaire received was not for any of the musicals for which he was known, it was for a supporting role in the 1974 disaster movie The Towering Inferno.
- A wardrobe trademark of Astaire’s was his use of a necktie looped around his waist instead of a belt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Did Fred Astaire have unusually large hands?
No, Fred Astaire did not have unusually large hands. While his hands may have appeared elegant and expressive during his performances, there is no substantial evidence to suggest that his hands were significantly larger than average for a man of his stature. Astaire was known for his impeccable style and grace, which may have contributed to any perception of his hands being notably large.
How did Fred Astaire's hand size affect his dancing style?
Fred Astaire's hand size did not notably affect his dancing style. Instead, his legendary status as a dancer was due to his extraordinary talent, precision, and work ethic. His hands were an extension of his expressive style, contributing to the overall aesthetics of his dance routines, but they were not a defining factor in his ability to perform.
Are there any specific performances where Fred Astaire's hand movements are particularly noteworthy?
Many of Fred Astaire's performances showcase his hand movements, but one particularly noteworthy example is his dance with Eleanor Powell in the film "Broadway Melody of 1940." Their routine to the song "Begin the Beguine" features intricate hand gestures that complement their tap dancing, demonstrating Astaire's skill in using his hands to enhance his overall performance.
What physical attributes contributed to Fred Astaire's success as a dancer?
Fred Astaire's success as a dancer can be attributed to his lean physique, agility, and exceptional sense of rhythm. His meticulous attention to choreography and technique, along with his ability to convey emotion through movement, also played significant roles. Astaire's dedication to rehearsal and perfectionism ensured that every gesture, step, and movement was executed with precision and style.
How has Fred Astaire influenced modern dance and performance?
Fred Astaire has had a profound influence on modern dance and performance. His innovative choreography, including the integration of dance with film techniques, set new standards for musicals. Astaire's style, combining ballroom with tap and ballet, has inspired generations of dancers and performers. His legacy is evident in the continued reverence for his work and the emulation of his style by contemporary artists in various genres of dance and entertainment.