Saturday, September 22, 2007

You make me feel like dancin'

Speaking as someone whose attempts at formal dance resemble a man trying to manoeuvre a fridge into a difficult corner, I am in awe of them as can. YouTube is the perfect place to marvel at their genius and to wonder at just how they did it. How does this member of Tip Tap & Toe do that sliding thing at about 0.49 without shooting straight off the end of the dais?

The physical ease of these people is breathtaking. How does Fred Astaire manage to go from speech to song in the space of one sentence without looking embarrassed? How could they film such demanding routines without cuts and edits? They must have rehearsed for weeks before every number.

How did Whitey's Lindyhoppers manage to get through a number like this without somebody getting seriously hurt? This was 1941, long before the invention of either rock and roll or health and safety.

My old Dad knew nothing about dancing but he used to say "you've got to be good to be able to muck around". There's no better example of this than Wilson & Keppel who parlayed one number into a forty-year career. In the days before TV.


  1. And of course, Ginger did most things that Fred did, 'only backwards and in high heels'. There's a great line in Sebastian Horley's autobiography where he says that 'dancing with me is like trying to assemble a deckchair'.

  2. Oh come on David ! Browsing You Tube. You are just excited about the imminent re-arrival of Strictly Come Dancing. there is no shame admitting it. The glamour !!!

    The clips are great. Particularly the third one. I kept wondering if the film was speeded up but it obviously isn't. The sheer atleticism of those dancers is a sight to behold.

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  4. Fantastic stuff. Although those step ladders in the third clip are an accident waiting to happen. I could hardly look.

  5. Wow! That third clip made me want to learn to Lindy Hop in addition to tap dancing! Tip Tap & Toe were great tap dancers and that Raymond Winfield is unmatched when it comes to sliding. You may also want to check out Jimmy Slyde who came along later is undoubtedly one of the smoothest tap dancers ever! I have more tap video posted on my blog at

    Thanks for sharing those clips! I am now seriously considering a Lindy class!