Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire by Roxane OrgillFollow the footsteps of two persevering siblings who danced their way into a cherished place in the spotlight.
In 1905, four-and-a-half-year-old Fred Astaire put on his first pair of dancing shoes -- and from that moment, his life was filled with singing, dancing, and fancy footwork. Freds older sister, Adele, was the real dancer, but Fred worked hard to get all the steps just right, and it wasnt long before he was the one capturing headlines and stealing the show. In this fascinating story of child stars who hoof their way to knockout success on Broadway and beyond, Roxane Orgill and Stephane Jorisch team up for a bravura performance, capturing the sophistication, fluidity, and grace of two of the biggest names in dance history.
Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire
Jorisch's I Remember Miss Perry winning, Art Deco—flavored ink-and-watercolor illustrations, on the other hand, share in some of the Astaires' eventual glamour and verve as the artist eloquently conjures earlyth-century stage life. Fluid, willowy lines depict festooned dancing frocks, packed performance halls and even an impromptu dance-off with Bojangles in a back alley. Readers glimpse Fred and Adele crying in a dressing room, and, much later, looking out over a standing ovation. In one notable spread Fred, outfitted in mauve, and Adele, in powder blue, execute twists and turns with flair in four vignettes against an olive-brown backdrop resembling a heavy stage curtain. Informative, with spry visuals, the story projects an element of sophistication with the deep wine-red hues that inhabit most scenes and the title's font, which recalls that of the New Yorker. A class act.
Before Fred and Ginger, there was Fred and his sister Adele. From the respective ages of five and seven, the young Astaires danced together for more than 20 years. Orgill and Jorisch tell the true story of their rise from starving vaudeville performers to the twin toasts of London. They too form a class act in this handsome, stylish book. An appendix gives great suggestions for further reading, listening, and viewing. Where the book stumbles is in its lack of intimacy.
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When Fred Astaire was only five years old, he, his sister Adele, and their mother left their home in Omaha so that Adele could take dancing lessons in New York City. The children were a great sensation and for a few years, all went well. After two years, Fred and Adele went back to work. This time they were not a success at all. Times were very hard for a while until a new dancing teacher, Aurelia Coccia, was found.