Nostalgia Head: Mid-Century Hollywood Dance Queens

During the 1950s and 60s musicals were hugely popular on the big screen. Actors like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire tapped their way into the hearts of American film-goers. However, the ones doing the real leg-work (ha, sorry), were the dancing divas. From Ann-Margaret to Cyd Charisse, these women brought entertainment through their nimble footwork that will leave you exhausted just from watching.

Mitzi Gaynor – The I Don’t Care Girl (1953)

If there’s one thing you’ll learn from this video, it’s that Mitzi Gaynor really doesn’t care. Gaynor causes a riot as a vaudeville girl with a whole lot of feathers on her head. This song might become my new mantra.

Ann Margret – Viva Las Vegas (1964)

Ann-Margret blows my mind here. All the shimmying and turning, I think I’d have a crick in my neck- but she’s so charismatic!

Leslie Caron-An American in Paris (1951)

Someone’s been hitting the yoga mat- okay maybe not in this era. Caron reads a book while doing splits, I watch Netfix laying on the couch. We’re basically the same.

Vera Ellen – White Christmas (1954)

Even though she spikes the camera about a hundred times during this sequence, Vera Ellen is so graceful dancing with Danny Kaye. Also, can I please have her pink sparkly ball gown?

Ann Miller – Small Town Girl (1953)

Some of these musical numbers are, well, artistic- bordering on avant-guard. In this one, Ann Miller tap dances around an orchestra coming through the walls and floors.

Cyd Charisse – Silk Stockings (1957)

It’s amazing what the right hosiery can do. Cyd Charisse plays a Russian detective who breaks into a ballet frenzy over some stowed-away apparel. While this one might not make into the the feminist guidebook (or any of these videos, for that matter), it has inspired me to put my bed on a riser.




*Featured image credit: Kate Grabrielle via Flickr

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