Dancing backwards in high heels
This week BBC Radio 4 are broadcasting short stories about women ‘quietly outperforming the men in their lives’ to mark 100 years since the birth of Hollywood legend Ginger Rogers. A few blog posts ago I had a photo of Fred Astaire doing his stuff and I have to make a confession. For me, Fred was the one who always outshone his partner. But I never really thought about what Ginger had to do. And she did exactly what Fred did, only backwards. And in high heels. And a big frock. She has shot up in my estimation and so I wanted to pay tribute to her here.
How many other great women have been overlooked for doing it the hard way?
I’ve spent several long hours this weekend watching and chaperoning a show from my daughter’s dance school. From small cute Angelinas to top-heavy tutued teenagers on pointe, we had a lot of dancing. Ballet, modern, jazz … about 20 (yes, 20) dances in all, but only one tap routine. What has happened to this form of dance? Why hasn’t the influence of Stomp et al reached Newton Abbot? There’s something so exciting about the sound of feet battering a floor. Something exhilarating. The rhythm of a line of hoofers all in step. A couple more of these tap routines would have got me through the weekend much more quickly.
As a kid I did twice-weekly dance lessons and many shows in some outrageous costumes. One of the higlights was a blackbird (along with 23 others) pirouetting out of a pie. And in a pantomime I was actually a pie. (A mince pie, obviously, as it was Christmas.) Seeing these young dancers yesterday made me hanker after the old tap. So when a fellow dance mother told me she did adult lessons once a week, I recklessly said I’d go along. So not only am I now on the look-out for some 70s platforms, I also need to find some tap shoes. Shuffle, shuffle, ball change.