Artist of the Month

 Time to Shine! The Center for Performing Arts  4375 Woodbine Road, Pace, Florida 32571  850.994.5678  info@timetoshineflorida.com

>Eleanor Powell, tap dancer/actress

Born: November 21, 1912 Died: February 11, 1982 Eleanor Powell was an American dancer and actress best remembered for her solo tap numbers in musical films in the 1930s and 1940s, believed to be equaled only by Fred Astaire in terms of dancing talent.

Early Life

Powell began training in ballet in Massachusetts at the age of 6 and was discovered at the age of 11 by the head of the Vaudeville Kiddie revue, Gus Edwards. When she was 17, she brought her graceful, athletic style to Broadway, where she starred in various revues and musicals. During this time, she was dubbed “the world’s greatest tap dancer” due to her machine-gun footwork.

Road to Hollywood and Stardom

In 1935, the leggy, fresh-faced Powell made the move to Hollywood and performed a speciality number in her first major film, George White’s Scandals, and she was well received in her first starring role. Broadway Melody of 1936 (in which she was supported by Jack Benny and Frances Langford) and delighted 1930s audiences with her endless energy and enthusiasm, not to mention her stunning dancing. Powell would go on to star opposite many of the decade’s top leading men, including James Stewart, Robert Taylor, Fred Astaire, Nelson Eddy and Robert Young. Within a few years, she ranked as MGM’s top female dancer (with the possible exception of Ginger Rogers), and the studio created lavish screen vehicles tailored specifically to her talents. In such films as Born to Dance (1936), Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), Rosalie (1937), Honolulu (1939), Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940), and Lady Be Good (1941), Powell exhibited an assertive, athletic style of tap dancing that was unique among female dancers of the era. Because of her dominating style and commanding virtuosity, she was not generally cast opposite male dancers—of whom there were few in her league—but rather was placed in roles in which her “independent woman” persona was showcased in solo routines. Only Astaire was her onscreen equal. Together, Astaire and Powell danced to Porter’s “Begin the Beguine,” which is considered by many to be one of the greatest tap sequences in film history. According to accounts of the making of this film, including a documentary included on the DVD release, Astaire was somewhat intimidated by Powell, who was considered the only female dancer ever capable of out-dancing Astaire. In his autobiography Steps in Time, Astaire remarked, “She ‘put ‘em down like a man’, no ricky-ticky-sissy stuff with Ellie. She really knocked out a tap dance in a class by herself.” In his introduction to the clip, featured in That’s Entertainment  Frank Sinatra said, “You know, you can wait around and hope, but you’ll never see the likes of this again.”

Later Life and Legacy

Despite her enormous popularity, Powell appeared in only 14 films during her career and largely retired after her marriage to actor Glenn Ford in 1943. She returned to star in Sensations of 1945, in which she performed a surreal number, dancing inside a giant pinball machine, and to perform a dance routine in Duchess of Idaho (1950). She hosted a religious television series, The Faith of our Children, from 1953 to 1955. After her divorce from Ford in 1959, she performed for a few years in musical revues in New York and Las Vegas to great acclaim. In 1965 the Dance Masters of America bestowed upon her the title of World’s Greatest Tap Dancer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Powell https://www.britannica.com/biography/Eleanor-Powell

Artist of the Month

>Eleanor Powell, tap dancer/actress

 Time to Shine! The Center for Performing Arts  4375 Woodbine Road, Pace, Florida 32571  850.994.5678  info@timetoshineflorida.com
Born: November 21, 1912 Died: February 11, 1982 Eleanor Powell was an American dancer and actress best remembered for her solo tap numbers in musical films in the 1930s and 1940s, believed to be equaled only by Fred Astaire in terms of dancing talent.

Early Life

Powell began training in ballet in Massachusetts at the age of 6 and was discovered at the age of 11 by the head of the Vaudeville Kiddie revue, Gus Edwards. When she was 17, she brought her graceful, athletic style to Broadway, where she starred in various revues and musicals. During this time, she was dubbed “the world’s greatest tap dancer” due to her machine- gun footwork.

Road to Hollywood and Stardom

In 1935, the leggy, fresh-faced Powell made the move to Hollywood and performed a speciality number in her first major film, George White’s Scandals, and she was well received in her first starring role. Broadway Melody of 1936 (in which she was supported by Jack Benny and Frances Langford) and delighted 1930s audiences with her endless energy and enthusiasm, not to mention her stunning dancing. Powell would go on to star opposite many of the decade’s top leading men, including James Stewart, Robert Taylor, Fred Astaire, Nelson Eddy and Robert Young. Within a few years, she ranked as MGM’s top female dancer (with the possible exception of Ginger Rogers), and the studio created lavish screen vehicles tailored specifically to her talents. In such films as Born to Dance (1936), Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), Rosalie (1937), Honolulu (1939), Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940), and Lady Be Good (1941), Powell exhibited an assertive, athletic style of tap dancing that was unique among female dancers of the era. Because of her dominating style and commanding virtuosity, she was not generally cast opposite male dancers—of whom there were few in her league—but rather was placed in roles in which her “independent woman” persona was showcased in solo routines. Only Astaire was her onscreen equal. Together, Astaire and Powell danced to Porter’s “Begin the Beguine,” which is considered by many to be one of the greatest tap sequences in film history. According to accounts of the making of this film, including a documentary included on the DVD release, Astaire was somewhat intimidated by Powell, who was considered the only female dancer ever capable of out-dancing Astaire. In his autobiography Steps in Time, Astaire remarked, “She ‘put ‘em down like a man’, no ricky-ticky-sissy stuff with Ellie. She really knocked out a tap dance in a class by herself.” In his introduction to the clip, featured in That’s Entertainment  Frank Sinatra said, “You know, you can wait around and hope, but you’ll never see the likes of this again.”

Later Life and Legacy

Despite her enormous popularity, Powell appeared in only 14 films during her career and largely retired after her marriage to actor Glenn Ford in 1943. She returned to star in Sensations of 1945, in which she performed a surreal number, dancing inside a giant pinball machine, and to perform a dance routine in Duchess of Idaho (1950). She hosted a religious television series, The Faith of our Children, from 1953 to 1955. After her divorce from Ford in 1959, she performed for a few years in musical revues in New York and Las Vegas to great acclaim. In 1965 the Dance Masters of America bestowed upon her the title of World’s Greatest Tap Dancer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Powell https://www.britannica.com/biography/Eleanor-Powell