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Jazz and Ginger Rogers

             Katherine McMath (aka Ginger Rogers) was born on 16 July, 1911 at Independence in Missouri, USA. When she was ten years old she was taking professional dance classes. She sowed a lot of promise as an athlete and pianist. Not yet fifteen and with a "theatrical mother from hell" 1 Ginger was on the cover of a magazine ("Vaudeville News"). The review said she had "legs as fast as lightning" and a "sweet stage disposition."2 She often performed "recitations about animals in a coy "baby-voice""3.
             Ginger Rogers" style that is unique and identifiable (apart from the above) include the amalgamation of comedy, dancing, acting and singing in live performances eg. Broadway, and movies eg. Hollywood and MGM. A critic wrote about Ginger saying, "undeniably multi-talented, she may not have been a great actress singer, dancer or comedienne, but she could get by well enough in all four directions at a time of the early Thirties, when most Hollywood stars were still learning ho to speak and walk simultaneously on screen."4.
             Additionally, her choice of costuming were lavish and glamorous. She is noted for her evening gowns with feathers and/or beads. And her dancing on high heeled shoes to ice skates stand out within jazz dance history. .
             Between 1933-1939 her "electrifying and magical"5 partnership with Frederick Austerlitz (aka Fred Astaire), together had made nine musicals. Mutually, they influenced the jazz genre by combining tap dancing and ballroom dancing.
             Their last appearance together on screen was in 1949, a film called "Barkley Of Broadway." It was said they were the "most celebrated duo in the history of motion picture, perhaps in the history of the world."6 All their films were in black and white and the story line was always the same. That is, "boy meets girl, boy dances with girl, boy nearly loses girl, boy dances with girl, boy gets girl."7.
             Perhaps the most notorious of Ginger Rogers" work was the 1937 film "Shall We Dance" made by RKO Pictures and the seventh film she made with Fred Astaire.

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