Friday, September 11, 2015

Fred Astaire and Writers

via Pinterest
   Have you ever seen one of Fred Astaire’s films? The excellence he achieved with his dancing is unparalleled. I doubt you will ever find anyone willing to disagree with the point that he was, and still is, the best dancer that ever set foot in Hollywood. Gene Kelly can’t hold a candle to him— sorry, American In Paris and Singing In the Rain.

   Fred Astaire is known for his drive for a flawless performance. If he made a mistake, he would start over from the beginning. If one detail was wrong, he’d redo the entire dance. Maybe this was carrying perfectionism a little too far, but the result of that perfectionism we see in his films is marvelous to watch. No one can dance like Fred Astaire because he took the time to go back and correct his mistakes, rehearse the number repeatedly, and well, let’s face it, he had the talent. But here’s the thing about talent: you have to hone it, train it, and practice like mad to turn it into a skill and something beautiful. And that’s what Fred Astaire did.

   As writers we all strive to improve our writing. We read the great classics of literature, the ones that have stood the test of time, and we write. Writing is different than dance, true— writers create art with words, while dancers use their bodies. But some of the principles are the same. Dancers train and rehearse. Writers write multiple drafts, edit, and polish them until they are satisfied with the results. This writing process basically equates to the dancer’s training and rehearsals. We both keep at it until we’ve perfected our art to the high level we want it to be.

   So, what can Fred Astaire teach us left-footed writers? Don’t give up and keep writing until you get it write. Pun intended.


  1. Man, now I want to go watch a Fred Astaire movie lol :D

  2. You and me both! :) Thank you for commenting, Eliza!

  3. Me too, Evelyn! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  4. Well, my personal view is that Astaire was indeed the true perfectionist at dance and being eloquently precise, while Kelly was more at home with pursuing the creative and inventive side of dance. But, if I really, truly had to pick a favorite of the two, (I love them both) it would probably have to be Fred Astaire.
    Have you seen The Babbitt and The Bromide? It's so neat to see them dance together.

    I love this analogy :)

  5. Mary - Yes, Kelly was very at home with bringing an inventive quality to his dances. Some of the dances in Fred Astaire's films in the 50s tend to have more of a flair in that direction. I think some of it has to do the changing tastes back then. But Kelly's creativeness with dance really made him stand out. I really love the musicals he made with Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.

    I have not seen "The Babbitt and The Bromide" yet, but I want to.

    Thank you for commenting!

  6. Oh, I LOVE this post! "But here’s the thing about talent: you have to hone it, train it, and practice like mad to turn it into a skill and something beautiful." YES. Thank you for sharing this, Hanne-col! It's a great reminder. And Fred's awesome. =)


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