In a previous blog, we discussed the famed dance partnership between Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Despite their excellent chemistry on the dance floor, the two didn’t particularly take to one another personally. Simply a business partnership, Rogers and Astaire never developed a friendship or affinity for each other. Once Rogers and Astaire stopped dancing together in movies, Fred Astaire partnered with Rita Hayworth in many movies. Studio executives discovered that Hayworth and Astaire worked very well together, so much so that Astaire referred to Hayworth as his favorite dance partner. Today, we would like to further explore the career of Hollywood icon, pin-up, actress, and talented dancer Rita Hayworth.
Born Margarita Carmen Cansino, her father, Eduardo, was a Spanish Gypsy flamenco dancer and her mother was an American former Ziegfeld Follies dancer. Miss Cansino began dancing early on, and by the age of twelve, Rita started dancing in her father’s stage acts. During one of these performances, Fox studio executive Winfield R. Sheehan was present and offered her a movie contract. At the age of 16, she made her film debut in 1935 in Dante’s Inferno, but Fox soon dropped her contract. Rita’s then-husband convinced her to change her last name to Hayworth and dye her hair red, and she managed to score a contract with Columbia Pictures.
Hayworth finally got received her big break starring opposite Cary Grant in the 1939 film, Only Angels Have Wings. By playing an unfaithful wife, moviegoers took notice of her acting skills, and she was even dubbed “The Great American Love Goddess.” In 1941, Hayworth starred in her first movie alongside Fred Astaire, titled You’ll Never Get Rich. By then, Astaire was a seasoned performer of both Broadway and London’s West End as well as Hollywood musicals. A talented dancer and quick learner, Astaire loved working with Hayworth. Hayworth could practice difficult choreography in the morning and often perform the routine the same afternoon flawlessly.
Hayworth’s talent as a dancer was quickly overshadowed once Life magazine published a photo of her posing in black lace lingerie in 1944. This photo would later become one of the most famous World War II-era pin-up photos, catapulting her status as a sex symbol. In 1946, her status as a sex symbol catapulted even further when the film, Gilda, was released. Filled with sexual innuendo, this sultry film noir included Hayworth performing a controversial striptease. Cementing her star status, Hayworth continued a successful acting career for several years, despite a personal life fraught with turmoil. Marrying and divorcing several times, Hayworth battled a drinking problem, and would eventually pass away in 1987 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Ladies, do you want to embrace your inner Rita Hayworth? Come swing by our ballroom dance studio in Woodbridge to experience the joy of learning choreography. Although you may not get a routine down pat in a just a few hours like Miss Hayworth, you will have a positive experience in our encouraging atmosphere. We offer a variety of adult dance classes where you can explore your talent in a safe, fun atmosphere.