While the plot may be a bit thin, the dance sequences featuring some of the greatest ballet dancers of the era are nothing short of dazzling.
For many moviegoers, this would be their first glimpse backstage at the pain, frustration, pulled muscles and bleeding toes that are the world of ballet ----- and their first glimpse of the incomparable Russian dancer, Mikhail Baryshnikov as Yuri, captured forever in his magnificent prime.
And yet, for me, the most sensual dancing duo of all time never even share an on-screen kiss, much less a night of passionate lovemaking. They don’t need to. It’s all right there in the dance, from flirtation to fulfillment. The moment Fred Astaire puts his hand on the small of Ginger’s back he is making love to her and the audience can feel it.
Katharine Hepburn said that Ginger gave Fred sex and Fred gave Ginger class. Whether or not that was the source of the Astaire/Rogers chemistry, I have no idea. But I do know that Fred had a way of touching and holding a woman that takes my breath away.
After dancing with Gene, she said, she was black and blue, but after dancing with Fred there was not a mark on her. And she smiled sweetly as she said it.
Having hung up my toe shoes many years ago, I've spent the last 35 years with a man who cannot dance. And yet, and yet, when he puts his hand on the small of my back, it takes my breath away.
It’s all in the touch.