June 19, 2008

Cyd Charisse, 86

SHE'S dressed in a tight green Charleston strapless outfit her hair in a Chinadoll cut, a cigarette in a black thin holder dangling from forefinger and middle finger, and she's seated on a stool.

Her long shapely dancer legs so fabulous, as she kicks one straight up over head, Gene Kelly's hat on top of her foot shod in a green high heeled-pump. She teases Gene Kelly with those gorgeous gams and glides around him ever so sexily.

That is my all-time favorite scene, dubbed Broadway Melodies, in my all-time favorite movie musicale, Singin' in the Rain. Cyd Charisse was not an actress, she was a classical ballet-trained dancer, and yet she became as popular as many of her acting contemporaries.

She was my idol when I was very young. When I was still taking my ballet lessons, I would imagine growing up to be just like her...famous for her flirty and almost effortless dancing. And she could dance anything...classical ballet, swing, jazz, tap...she lived in the time when grand movie musicales were most in demand. It is my favorite Hollywood period as film studios churned out one hit after the other...Brigadoon (also starring Cyd btw), Silk Stockings (Cyd and Fred Astaire), West Side Story, Carousel, Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, etc.

Thank you Cyd Charisse, for giving us so much joy through your dancing. We have truly been blessed by your beauty and grace.

Click here for TIME's feature on Cyd Charisse's succesful Hollywood career.

Here's my other favorite scene in Singin' in the Rain.

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