Dance star’s final sparkle
June 30, 2008
The death of long-legged movie legend Cyd Charisse at the age of 86 brings to an end a whole era of dance.
You only had to tell her: “Go into your dance” to be assured of instant cinematic magic.
Trained as a classical dancer, she was a member of a touring ballet company when Hollywood signed her up.
She made her first impact mesmerising Gene Kelly in a ballet sequence in the classic musical Singing In The Rain.
Then as a fully fledged star, she partnered him in the disappointing Brigadoon and It’s Always Fair Weather.
But it was the Svengali-ish Fred Astaire who brought out her full potential.
They were wittily cast as showbiz rivals in The Band Waggon in which their duet Dancing In The Dark is pure screen poetry.
They also struck sparks in Silk Stockings, Cole Porter’s musical reworking of Greta Garbo’s old vehicle Ninotchka.
Some critics grumbled that Cyd wasn’t Garbo – as if just being Cyd wasn’t enough.
Between musicals she lent her statuesque glamour to straight roles but she never seemed very animated in those.
When her movie career wound down she and her long time husband, singer Tony Martin, formed a stage act which they brought to London in the 1970s.
Those who saw it say that her legs were still fabulous.