Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Texas Gal (1921-2008)

Just heard about the death of Cyd Charisse on NPR. Born in Amarillo, she took up dancing as a youngster to gain strength after recovering from polio.

Cyd was blessed with great talent, great beauty, and amazing grace. Dancers today just don't have the same savoir-faire, in my opinion. Golden Hollywood is rapidly disappearing.

In The Band Wagon, Cyd paired with Fred Astaire, who was 54 at the time, but still a master of dance. The movie isn't a favorite of mine except for the dance sequences. Storyline and acting is...let's just say a far cry from stellar. And Astaire's smoking is too much of a distraction. The Dancing in the Dark number is beautifully choregraphed and Astaire and Charisse are magical:

More recently than her Hollywood heyday, here is a YouTube of the Janet Jackson music video, "Alright", which has a brief dance scene with Cyd. The segment is a few minutes into the video - at approximately 2:59 (the scene is in front of a fancy dress store with the marquee "Sue Ellen's").

Goodbye, Cyd. Here's hoping you're dancing tonight with the best - Fred and Gene.


Wanda said...

Doesn't she make it look easy? Next to Janet Jackson her legs look yards long. What a beauty!

Good bye, Cyd.

la peregrina said...

Good post and thank you for the dances. Cyd Charisse looked fabulous in both videos. What class. :)

Pancho said...

Cyd Charisse sounds a whole lot more romantic than her real West Texas girl name......Tula Ellice Finklea. But a beautiful woman..

joared said...

I, too, have been a great fan of Cyd Charisse. I really liked the musicals and dancing. Remember in my younger days coming out of a movie theater after one and my friend and I literally started dancing down the street we were just so infused with the energy. Why can't we all just dance in the streets when the mood strikes us? Who cares what people think! Would they lock us up?

Cowtown Pattie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cowtown Pattie said...

Wanda - Texas gals are known for having legs that reach from Amarillo to McAllen. Remember the ZZ Top song- "She's Got Legs, And She Knows How To Use Them"

la peregrina- Class is right - Cyd encompassed it all.

Pancho - I had to grimace when I read what her real name was. No wonder she went by "Cyd".

Joared - I'm game if you are! In Texas we throw big street dances anyway - what's one more person two-steppin? LOL

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the gift! Watching Cyd and Fred made my afternoon. When I think of Cyd, I think of "Gotta Dance!" with Gene Kelly, although there are other dances that were lovelier.

We're blessed to have Cyd on tape, so that we don't have to rely on memory to enjoy her work.

Who knew she was a Texas girl!?

Thanks, Pattie for a great post!