BEGIN THE BEGUINE

I’ll never forget the first time I was blown away by the “Begin The Beguine” production number in BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940. I didn’t even know the number was a lot longer that the classic sequence we saw in THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT , but at least it let me see Eleanor Powell for the very first time,accompanied for the first and only time by Fred Astaire.
It was a long time after before I saw the film and could appreciate the entire dance.
Although I love the end sequence, I have to admit it’s not my favourite.
I always find it difficult to describe dance numbers so I will let John Mueller in his excellent book, ASTAIRE DANCING describe the section I love:
“…..the orchestra hypnotically repeats 7 times the music of ‘When they begin….when they begin….’ But the music never resolves. instead it breaks into a throbbing Spanish vamp melody. Astaire and Powell circle the floor,face to face and render sequential tap spins – Powell turns, then Astaire responds over and over again. finally they reach the exit and spin out of view…..this duet is amazingly subtle and intricate”.

For me it’s the combination of the two dancers, their choreography and the wonderful arrangement of the song.
Of course the whole number is fantastic ,but I always come back to this section.
Thank you ,Mr Mueller for putting it into words.

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