Laura's Reviews > Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire by Joseph Epstein
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Dec 24, 11

Recommended for: devotees of classic Hollywood; dance afficionados
Read from December 14 to 24, 2011

This is not a biography but a meditation on Astaire and dance and the transcendence of true Style, written in a breezy, urbane voice that you'll either adore or despise. Epstein tries to identify the secret ingredients that made Astaire and his dance partnerships magical on screen. I found the comparison of Astaire and Gene Kelly particularly intelligent and interesting. (I say this as a gal firmly on the Kelly side of that famous professional rivalry.)

The last paragraph is a superb summary of Epstein's insight: "What Fred Astaire did was elevate the entertainment of popular dance into an art; and he did it by dint of superior taste and sublime style, and while at it he also established that it was possible to bring a touch of the aristocrat to a thoroughly democratic society."

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