Saturday, February 9, 2008


Orgill, Roxane. 2007. Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire. Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch.

Footwork is picture book biography of Fred Astaire. Partial biography. It covers the time from his first interest in dance (4 years old and around 1905) through his first few movie pictures (1930s). "One day, while Fred Astaire was waiting for his sister, Adele, to finish dancing class, he saw a pair of ballet shoes in the corner. He put them on and walked on his toes. He was four and a half. Soon there was talk around the house about 'dancing school' and 'New York' and 'opportunity.' The talk concerned mostly Adele, but Fred was in it, too. 'Adele is a born dancer,' Father said, 'and Fred might not be too bad.'" The book provides a behind-the-scenes look at vaudeville, Broadway, and Hollywood. Though I suppose that sentence makes it look easy. It wasn't. Show business was not easy for the Astaires to break into. It was hard work. Always hard work. Always demanding. But it was what everyone wanted--the parents and the two children. This brother and sister act worked together for close to thirty years before she retired from show business to settle down and get married. Fred continued his act finding new partners and trying new things. One of the things he wanted to try most? Moving pictures! He saw film as the place to try new and exciting things with dance. Things had never been done before. Things that he wanted to be the one to "invent" or "discover" or "try."

Footwork shows you just what you can accomplish when you put your heart and mind and soul into something. Big dreams require big commitments. Hard work. Determination. Sacrifice. Perseverance.

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