Eleanor Powell: Born to Dance

Eleanor Powell: Born to Dance

by Paula Broussard, Lisa Royère
Eleanor Powell: Born to Dance

Eleanor Powell: Born to Dance

by Paula Broussard, Lisa Royère


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When considering the best dancers in Hollywood's history, some obvious names come to mind—Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Bill Robinson. Yet often overlooked is one of the most gifted and creative dancers of all time, Eleanor Powell. Powell's effervescent style, unmatched technical prowess in tap, and free-flowing musicality led MGM to build top-rate musicals around her unique talents, including Born to Dance (1936) with James Stewart and Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940) with Fred Astaire, in which she became known as the only female tap dancer capable of challenging him. In a male-dominated industry, her fierce drive for perfection, sometimes to her detriment, earned her a place as one of the most accomplished performers in vaudeville, Broadway, and film. Powell's grace, precision, and power established her as one of the greatest American dancers. In 1943, she married actor Glenn Ford and largely stepped away from the spotlight for the duration of their tumultuous marriage. After their divorce, Powell made a courageous comeback, successfully performing in Las Vegas and on the nightclub circuit. Cancer claimed her life at the age of sixty-nine.

Eleanor Powell: Born to Dance by Paula Broussard and Lisa Royère is an all-encompassing work following the American dance legend from her premature birth and upbringing by a single parent in Springfield, Massachusetts, to her first Broadway performance at age fifteen, through her days as a blazing icon in the world of Hollywood, and finally, to her inspiring comeback. With access to rare documents, letters, and production files, as well as insights drawn from their own personal relationships with Powell, Broussard and Royère offer a thoroughly researched, comprehensive, and fascinating look at an incredibly talented and unforgettable woman.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813197883
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 08/08/2023
Series: Screen Classics
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 139,484
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Paula Broussard is an experienced journalist. In addition to her years as a newspaper reporter, she has written extensively on dance for such publications as Dance Magazine, LA Weekly, Dance Spirit, and Dance Teacher. She holds a BA in mass media/communications from Chapman University with a minor in dance and also studied French at the University of Paris, Sorbonne. Lisa Royère has a love of classic films, particularly musicals, and has extensive knowledge about the MGM era. Her years of dance training give her excellent critical insight into this field. An authority on Powell's career, she has written about Powell in American Classic Screen Profiles and served as a consultant on several book projects. Fluent in French, she has also done translation and editing work in the United States and France, where she lived for twenty-five years.

Table of Contents

1. First Steps
2. Atlantic City
3. Broadway and the Joyful Noise
4. Gaining Traction
5. Traipsing the Boards
6. Westward Bound
7. Taming the Lion
8. Full Velocity
9. Born to Dance
10. "Feelin' Like a Million"
11. Fulfilling Dreams
12. King and Queen
13. Love and Disappointment
14. Hollywood at War
15. Disillusion and Hope
16. Mizpah
17. Back on the Boards
18. Walking Through Fire
19. The Phoenix
20. Winding Down
21. Epilogue

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