Cyd Charisse Shakes Dem Bones

Cyd Charisse might be most remembered for her emerald gangster mole number in Singing In The Rain but it’s her serpentine performance with Fred Astaire in The Girl Hunt Ballet, a sequence from The Band Wagon, that has me floored this morning. Here they are, cutting the rug at Dem Bones Café like there’s no tomorrow.

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Coilfact: Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” video is based on this number.

By the time she was fourteen, Cyd (born in Texas Tula Ellice Finklea) was honing her moves under the pseudonym “Felia Sidorova” with the Ballet Russe. I don’t exactly envision Nizhinskaya secretly teaching her to loosen her hips and knees, but Cyd’s signature style certainly displays the precision of strict ballet training behind the fluid writhing and risqué kicks so loved by her fans. There is a power to this performer’s presence that transcends sexuality and grace, as if hinting at a playful sorceress, ever-threatening to reveal herself before a charmed audience.

Coilfact: Charisse made the 2001 Guiness Book of World Records as “Most Valuable Legs” after receiving a $5,000,000 insurance policy on her legs. And how!

Can’t get enough?

6 Responses to “Cyd Charisse Shakes Dem Bones”

  1. Nadya Says:

    I’m so mad that I have to wait until I come home from work to watch this video. She looks so graceful!

  2. Tequila Says:

    That’s one of my favorite musicals…and one of Fred Astaire’s best at that. Cyd is a Hollywood legend and a top tier star during the age when The Musical and dance numbers were staples both as a genre and in films as a whole. It’s a shame you don’t see performance numbers like this though…cause the one above could never be done on stage. It wouldn’t look or feel the same…and as much as music videos try to borrow from old musicals, they still fall way short since most of the “dancing” comes off as glorified stripper acts.

    Charlie Rose did a great interview with her and other top musical talent way back in the 90’s…not sure if the DVD of the interview is still in print but it’s worth seeing.

  3. Mer Says:

    Dearling, you’ve seen this, I’d assume?


  4. Peter S. Says:

    Rest in peace, Cyd.

  5. Mer Says:

    Goodbye, goodbye. We love you, Legs. :)

    She made it all look so effortless, didn’t she?

  6. Drummer Says:

    “Dancing with Dynamite !!”