Is it possible for an entertainer today to have a career like Fred Astaire's?

Is it possible for an entertainer today to have a career like Fred Astaire's?

An interviewer once posed a similar question to Tony Award-winning dancer/choreographer Savion Glover, who answered in the affirmative.

Glover might be right.
I'm stepping on a few toes, but here is why.

Without performances on film, Astaire might have been just another talented, but forgotten, stage performer. It's not just skill, star quality, elegance and choreographic innovation that makes Astaire a legend; aggressive marketing then and now, his handlers' careful honing of his public persona, movies revisited in perpetuity etc., all create that image we know and love.

A talented, present day entertainer might be just as great, innovative and - with the growth of the internet-  iconic.

Just a thought.

Is it possible for an entertainer today to have a career like Fred Astaire's? What do you think?

P.S. Then again, maybe not. There's one thing about movies in Astaire's time that we do not have now - most were meant for the entire family, a wide age range. Now the market is fragmented. Getting a huge chunk of people to like any one thing is harder... but not impossible.

Roger Ebert states in an interview with the Archive of American Television that, "Films are important because they are the art form of the twentieth century. They are the most serious of the mass arts (because even theater is not a mass art).They effect the way people think and feel and behave."

Though it has not supplanted films, the internet is fast fitting the above description. With the rise of the web, I think we are due for a breakout, innovative internet star akin to Fred Astaire in the early days of cinema.


  1. Good question! I am not sure that someone today could achieve the level of superstardom that Astaire achieved. Astaire was the product of clever marketing, to be sure, but he also had an off-beat charm. Today's dancers, from my limited exposure, seem to be more obvious about their ego. It'll be interesting to see what others say...

  2. Humility and gracious behavior! Yes, those qualities endear Astaire to millions. :)

    Today, though - and I have no stats to back it up - I think braggadocio sells a bit more.

    It's something to ponder.


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