First dance

One more diary entry to share, this time not about first love but about the love of my life to whom I am now married. A few years ago I blogged about how Mr Esther and I got together, our first kiss happpened on the morning after a long date night. Before that first kiss there was also a first slow dance. Yet again, this is another memory triggered by Anne with an E (obsessed much? Nah! 😉 ) The memory was already triggered a few weeks ago, during episode 5, when Anne and Gilbert first danced. (Beware of spoilers ahead in the videos).

If you care to see the whole dance scene, it can be seen in the video shared in this tweet. I promise you, the scene is magical.

What happens is that Anne and Gilbert dance and at some point they forget the world around them and become completely engrossed in each other, with the music fading away and the couple dancing in slow motion. And I swear that such a moment can happen as well in real life! It happened when Mr Esther and I first danced. We’d been dancing the night away at a disco and in the early hours of morning, close to closing time, the music slowed down and we finally slow danced together for the first time. Our dance was nothing like the choreographed Anne and Gilbert dance. We both aren’t great dancers, we just slow-dance-shuffled. I wrote about it in my diary that same evening on Sunday, January 26th, 1992:


” I’ll never forget the last two numbers, they were slow dance songs. Somehow we landed in each other’s arms. I don’t remember anything of the first song, just that it was slow and that we were holding each other very close and tight. I had my head against his shoulder, he had his chin on my head or to the side of my face most of the time.  We hardly moved, just swayed along with the music. I’ll never forget what went through me. I completely sank against his body and allowed us to go cheek to cheek occasionally. Occasionally we said something but mostly I savoured the moments with my eyes closed. The second song was Chris Isaac’s “ Wicked Game”. I’ll never forget that I couldn’t hold him close enough. I loved him so much as we danced. He was holding me tight too. Then the lights went on and the time had come to close up the place. We sat down and talked and at about 5 a.m. we left.”


To this day, neither of us can remember what that first song was that we slow danced to. We were so engrossed in each other and in how much we were feeling, that the world around us completely disappeared. I still remember the sensations, the wonder of finally being in his arms, feeling his head on my mine, feeling his cheek against mine, rarely daring to really look at each other but still being very close and feeling all these feelings… It felt momentous and the memory still warms my heart today, close to 28 years later. I had never felt something like that before and the world has never quite disappeared around me again like that since. It really was a once in a lifetime feeling. By the second slow dance song, the music finally filtered through to us again. We neither of us particularly love that Chris Isaac song and yet that song will always be special to me.

After that Anne with an E episode aired, I was in full on video-making mode and I wanted to make a video about that dance scene. With all these memories unleashed of my first dance with Mr Esther, guess which song I chose for that fan video? Yep, that’s right: “Wicked Game”, only I chose a cover version instead of the Chris Isaac version.

We are gearing up to the final season 3 Anne with an E episode this coming Sunday. The past episode showed Gilbert remembering his dance with Anne again…

… and I can so understand how even only remembering it can stop your heart there for a few moments! It triggered my happy first dance memory again as well and is also the reason for this post. 🙂

Moira Walley-Beckett, who writes and produces Anne, just posted this behind-the-scenes picture on her Instagram account from an iconic after-the-dance scene, only this picture is far less angsty than the actual scene was:

Anne Gilbert Moira after dance BTS

Anyway, with this season nearing it’s end, I know I will miss it so much! There is no confirmation yet whether there will be a season 4 but with all I have in me, I so hope that Anne with an E will be renewed!  Where do I have to send my letter? And hey, if I can help with crowdfunding or something, I am so there… In the meantime, I guess I will just have to console myself with more fan videos.

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers dance!

The latest “Mach was” (“do something”) challenge is a call to do something with dance and I have to say, I was stumped for a while. What to do with dance? I once did ballet from the age of 10-14 but, while fun, it never really inflamed a passion for me. I do enjoy going to the ballet, but not enough to actually write a whole post about it. I just don’t see ballet often enough. So, what else could I do with dance? What do I like and how can I connect that with dance? Well… I love the movies… and hey, presto, there was the idea!

The first thing that springs to my mind when I think of films and dance is… Fred Astaire! And it didn’t stop there, I immediately had this image of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers doing their Cheek to Cheek dance number in the film Top Hat. If you look closely, you can see the feathers flying off Ginger Roger’s dress as she is being twirled around. And I thought of the dance (Never Gonna Dance from the movie Swing Time) where they each have to twirl up this staircase. To get the timing right, it had to be repeated so often that Ginger Roger’s feet were reportedly bleeding by the end of it. And I thought of the roller skates dance… and the dance where Astaire demonstrated to a dance school owner how much Rogers has apparently taught him (also from the movie Swing Time)… Of course I could have gone into Fred Astaire’s solo performances as well, which were just as wonderful, but no, the partnership with Ginger Rogers beckoned. What’s a girl to do but follow her heart, right? So Rogers & Astaire it is for this challenge!

Fred Astaire had many great dance partners but the one he somehow shared the most magic with was Ginger Rogers. Katharine Hepburn reportedly once said of them: “He gives her class and she gives him sex appeal” and I think that hits the nail on the head. They fit, they molded together very well and they danced brilliantly (even though Ginger Rogers still had a lot to learn when she started out).

Fred-Astaire-and-Ginger-Rogers4Those two just floated in each other’s arms in the romantic dances and the fun just jumped off the screen in their lively, more playful numbers.

 

 

Their tapdancing was always fun and, as mentioned above, they even tapdanced on roller skates once (Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off in the film Shall We Dance?)!

AstaireRogersSkates1

Fred Astaire (1899-1987) had danced in shows and revues with his sister Adele very succesfully on Broadway and in London until she got married in 1932. He then went into films on his own and very soon (in 1933, in his second film!) he was paired in a supporting role with Ginger Rogers (1911-1995) in a movie called Flying Down to Rio. A review said that, “Astaire starts dancing where the others stop hoofing.”

Astaire and Rogers were an immediate success and although Astaire wasn’t keen to be in a ‘partner act’ again (it had taken him a while to live down the partnering reputation with his sister), he was persuaded to first make one more movie with Rogers (The Gay Divorcee), and then persuaded to make many more. Between 1934 and 1939 they starred in 8 movies together and most of them were box office hits. The stories weren’t that deep, the plots sometimes convoluted but the films were fun, it was pure entertainment, and the dancing was of course magical. Many of the songs in those movies are all time classics!  After a break of 10 years, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made one last movie together in 1949 called The Barkleys of Broadway.

Fred-Astaire-and-Ginger-Rogers5

A dance commentator (John Mueller) analysed the magic of these two together as follows: “Rogers was outstanding among Astaire’s partners not because she was superior to others as a dancer, but because, as a skilled, intuitive actress, she was cagey enough to realize that acting did not stop when dancing began … the reason so many women have fantasized about dancing with Fred Astaire is that Ginger Rogers conveyed the impression that dancing with him is the most thrilling experience imaginable”. And Fred Astaire himself once said: “She got so that after a while everyone else who danced with me looked wrong.” He credited the success of their partnership largely to her.

In the 1950s Rogers career declined, there being a lesser demand for ‘older’ Hollywood actresses. Fred Astaire’s career remained more or less successful and in later years he also branched out into television. Both of them remain best remembered for their partnerhip in 10 films, however; a partnership that started 83 years ago! I am amazed at how fresh and good the dancing still looks and find that it still holds up well today…

I have spent a little time creating a YouTube playlist with some of their dance numbers that are among my own favourites. If you have some time, take a peek!