Monday, February 04, 2008

Nonfiction Monday: Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire

Orgill, Roxane. 2007. Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire. Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch.

Footwork is picture book biography of Fred Astaire. Partial biography. It covers the time from his first interest in dance (4 years old and around 1905) through his first few movie pictures (1930s). "One day, while Fred Astaire was waiting for his sister, Adele, to finish dancing class, he saw a pair of ballet shoes in the corner. He put them on and walked on his toes. He was four and a half. Soon there was talk around the house about 'dancing school' and 'New York' and 'opportunity.' The talk concerned mostly Adele, but Fred was in it, too. 'Adele is a born dancer,' Father said, 'and Fred might not be too bad.'" The book provides a behind-the-scenes look at vaudeville, Broadway, and Hollywood. Though I suppose that sentence makes it look easy. It wasn't. Show business was not easy for the Astaires to break into. It was hard work. Always hard work. Always demanding. But it was what everyone wanted--the parents and the two children. This brother and sister act worked together for close to thirty years before she retired from show business to settle down and get married. Fred continued his act finding new partners and trying new things. One of the things he wanted to try most? Moving pictures! He saw film as the place to try new and exciting things with dance. Things had never been done before. Things that he wanted to be the one to "invent" or "discover" or "try."

Footwork shows you just what you can accomplish when you put your heart and mind and soul into something. Big dreams require big commitments. Hard work. Determination. Sacrifice. Perseverance.

Roundup is here.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers--Several Clips from Swing Time including "Pick Yourself Up" and "Never Gonna Dance"

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers-- "The Way You Look Tonight" (also from Swing Time)

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers-- "A Fine Romance"

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers-- "I Won't Dance"


Sarah Miller said...

You gotta see this one:

Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell in BROADWAY MELODY 1940; I think the only time they ever worked together.

Tricia said...

This was a Cybils nominee for picture book nonfiction, and one our panel never saw because it wasn't sent. I was so disappointed. I have long been a fan and wanted to read this. I'll have to keep looking in the hopes that one day my local library will have it.

Thanks for the review.