Fred Astaire, His Partners, and Others

Fred Astaire is considered one of the greatest dancers of the twentieth century. There seemed to be no style of dancing that he could not master. An area of his work that is scarcely considered is his amazing ability to adjust his dancing style to the styles and strengths of his partners. This seminar will present examples of his dancing, not only with Ginger Rogers, but with other partners, including Judy Garland, Rita Hayworth, Eleanor Powell, Vera Ellen, and even Gene Kelly. His inventive choreography for – and interaction with – chorus lines will also be discussed. Favorite film clips of his many dances will be featured.

Recommended reading:
The Astaires by Kathleen Riley, Oxford University Press
Music Makes Me by Todd Decker, University of California Press

Class Recordings:

Class 1 - February 2

Class 2 - February 9

Class 3 - February 16

Class 4 - February 23

Class 5 - March 2

Class 6 - March 9


Meets on: Tuesdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting: 2/2/2021
Sessions: 6
Class Size: unlimited
Teaching Style: Lecture with questions
Weekly Preparation: None
Group Leader Biography:

Bradford Conner and Benjamin Sears have been performing together since 1989 and lecture regularly on the music they perform. Conner and Sears are leading scholars of Irving Berlin, with six recordings of his songs and print publications. Also opera and history lovers, both have taught at Beacon Hill Seminars and are recipients of the Jack Curtin Award. Sears, a graduate of Ithaca College and editor of The Irving Berlin Reader, wrote a chapter in Adapting The Wizard of Oz: Musical Versions from Baum to MGM and Beyond, and is in the early stages of developing The Fred Astaire Reader. Conner is a graduate of West Virginia University, having also studied at the University of Salzburg (Austria) and the American College of Salzburg. A renaissance individual with degrees in business, musicology, and foreign language, he has lectured and written on his interests in music and world history.