After a hiatus of 3 years, The Astaire Awards will once
again recognize excellence in dance on both stage and film. Jennifer Dumas,
Executive Producer of the Auditory Oral School of New York and Patricia Watt,
Producers of this year's awards, now called The Fred & Adele Astaire
Awards, have announced this year's Nominating Committee who will select
nominees from the best of Broadway and film performances and choreography this
season. The name of the award first presented 26 years ago was changed to reflect
the original intent of the awards creators in honoring the famed brother and
The distinguished list includes: Clive Barnes, Senior
Theater & Dance Critic New York Post; Anna Kisselgoff, former Chief Dance
Critic, New York Times; Wendy Perron, Editor in Chief, Dance Magazine; Sylviane
Gold, Theater Columnist, Dance Magazine; Linda Winer, Chief Theater Critic, Newsday and Jacques
D'Amboise, Dancer, Choreographer, Director & Founder of The National Dance
Institute. Chairman Emeritus of the Nominating Committee is Douglas Watt,
former Senior Drama Critic, New York Daily News. Honorary Chairs of the event
are Ava Astaire McKenzie & Richard McKenzie.
The Fred & Adele Astaire Awards (formerly known as The
Astaire Awards established in 1982 by the Anglo-American Contemporary Dance
Foundation and administered by Theatre Development Fund since 1991) recognized
outstanding achievement in dance on Broadway each season. The award was
established with the cooperation of Fred Astaire to honor him and his sister,
Adele, who starred with her brother in 10 Broadway musicals between 1917 and
1931. This year the Awards will be expanded to include dance in and
choreography for film as this was the métier that brought Fred Astaire to
international fame and a permanent slot on every list of the top movie stars of
During their years together, the brother & sister duo
delighted Broadway audiences in Over the Top, The Passing Show of 1918, Apple
Blossoms, Love Letter, For Goodness Sake, The Bunch & Judy, Lady Be Good,
Funny Face, Smiles and The Band Wagon. Fred Astaire starred on Broadway without
sister Adele in one more show, The Gay Divorcee.
After Adele retired to marry in 1932, Astaire headed to the
West Coast. Signed to RKO, he was loaned to MGM to appear in Dancing Lady
before starting work on RKO's Flying Down to Rio.
In the latter film, he began his highly successful partnership with Ginger
Rogers with whom he danced in 10 motion pictures. Their 17 year collaboration
resulted in such classics as The Barkleys of Broadway, Carefree, Follow the Fleet, The Gay Divorcee, Roberta,
Shall We Dance, The Story of Vern and Irene Castle, Swing Time and the
quintessentially elegant Top Hat.
During these years, he was also active in recording and
radio. On film, Astaire later appeared opposite a number of partners through
various studios. After a temporary retirement in 1945-7, during which he opened
Fred Astaire Dance Studios, Astaire returned to film to star in more musicals.
He subsequently performed a number of straight dramatic roles in film and TV.
In addition to starring in the film Funny Face in 1957, he also starred in the
original 1927 Broadway version of the
George & Ira Gershwin musical Funny Face.