Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects
Backwards in High Heels: Examining the Careers and Artistic Contributions of Fred Astaire’s Female Dance Partners
Theatre and Dance
This project examines the careers and contributions of three of Fred Astaire’s female dancing partners during the golden age of movie musicals: Ginger Rogers, Vera-Ellen, and Cyd Charisse. These women receive less recognition than their male co-star, due in part to the political and social environment from the 1930s to the 1950s in America, sexism and competition within Hollywood, and personal obstacles. Rogers, Vera-Ellen, and Charisse are all important as individual performers as well as for the part they played in enhancing Astaire’s legacy. My goal is to bring these women back into the musical theatre narrative in a compact and easily accessible form for high school and university theatre and dance students. Each chapter includes a brief biography of each dancer, commentary on the obstacles they faced, and contributions they made to theatre, dance, and film including an analysis of two dance numbers, at least one with Astaire. A visual glossary is also included to help readers understand the dance terminology used in the analysis sections.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr. Michelle Dvoskin
Dance | Other Theatre and Performance Studies | Performance Studies
Mowbray, Fiona, "Backwards in High Heels: Examining the Careers and Artistic Contributions of Fred Astaire’s Female Dance Partners" (2015). Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 591.
Dance Commons, Other Theatre and Performance Studies Commons, Performance Studies Commons