It took two years but she's finally figured out how to watch a video!
April 24, 2015 9:22 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for youtube videos of people dancing all fancy to share with my grandma.

Just in the last few weeks it appears that my grandma has finally learned how to watch a video on her long as it's a youtube video and shared through facebook posted directly on her wall. I can work with that!

But now I need things to send her.

Yesterday I sent her this video, which I only happened across because of this thread. Huge, huge hit. Gram danced competitively when she was young and eats this stuff up.

Problem is, this is a huge cultural blind spot for me and I can't watch Fred Astaire talking for more than about 4 seconds before wanting to claw my own eyeballs out and even so I have no way to evaluate what dance stuff is cool, aside from the very very very obvious stuff like that Nicholas Brothers video. Most of it is supremely boring to me. I don't even know what famous dancer people names to search. There's tons of material on youtube but I can't myself tell which are worth watching & sending, and I'd prefer to only send Gram things that are The Best.

So I enlist your help. I'm looking for:
-youtube video clips
-that are no more than about 5 minutes long
-featuring well known people doing awesome dancy things
-that would be culturally relevant to a 91 year old woman (i.e. stuff she would have watched back in the day with people and music she knows)

Thanks! I'd like to build up a little cache so I can send her one every day.
posted by phunniemee to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Anything from Singing in the Rain.

Give me a few minutes and I should have more.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:46 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: - Whitey's Lindy Hoppers in Hellzapoppin' and All God's Children Got Rhythm
- Dean Collin and Jewel McGowan with the Casa Loma Orchestra
- Frankie Manning and Wilma Mae Ricker
- Dancers at the Cotton Club dancing to Duke Ellington
- Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth - "the Shorty George"
- Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse in Singing in the Rain
- Donald O'Conner - Make 'em Laugh from Singing in the Rain
- Donald O'Conner, Gene Kelly, and Debbie Reynolds - Good Mornin', also from Singing in the Rain
Some other names you might look
posted by ChuraChura at 9:47 AM on April 24, 2015

Best answer: Look on YouTube for Bob Fosse. So many, many marvelous videos there.

Another good YouTube search is "Sammy Davis Jr. dance."

Honestly, those three people probably have enough links to keep you going for a year.

Gene Kelly is amazing, I like him better than Fred Astaire. I couldn't find a playlist to link to, but YouTube has a ton of stuff.

Also, ha ha, jinx, ChuraChura!
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:00 AM on April 24, 2015

Best answer: My go-to is the Nicholas brothers. They always seem to be having so much damn fun. Did you watch them do I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo? Because they sing in it, too.
posted by readery at 10:06 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: White Christmas has some flashy dance numbers-- I like "Abraham."
posted by Bardolph at 10:11 AM on April 24, 2015

Best answer: If she likes tap, this dance with Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. is pretty cute. (It's all in English, don't worry about the titles at the beginning.)

One of the great things about grandparents who aren't super-conversant with the Internet, though, is the ability to magically bring forth things they assume are unfindable. Ask her if there's a movie, dancer, song, whatever that she remembers fondly, and bask in her astonishment when the thing appears. A thing she's thinking of is probably even better than a thing that's The Best, and you can fill in with more general things.
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:32 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ask her if there's a movie, dancer, song, whatever that she remembers fondly, and bask in her astonishment when the thing appears.

posted by phunniemee at 10:35 AM on April 24, 2015

While you're at it, you can introduce her to some newer stuff too

some lindy hip hop mix
street corner dancing in the rain
(she probably won't like this one)
posted by Thisandthat at 11:23 AM on April 24, 2015

Best answer: Eleanor Powell:

I'm Feelin' Like a Million, with George Murphy (with some obviously Singin' in the Rain early influence)

Begin the Beguine, with Fred Astaire (according to Wikipedia, Eleanor Powell "was considered the only female dancer ever capable of out-dancing Astaire")

Follow in my Footsteps, with George Murphy and Buddy Ebsen

Speaking of Buddy Ebsen:

At the Codfish Ball, with Shirley Temple

Sing Before Breakfast, with his sister Vilma Ebsen, then joined by Eleanor Powell to finish the number. Ebsen and his sister Vilma were known as "The Baby Astaires."

Buddy Ebsen with Judy Garland

From 1929, The Gold Diggers of Broadway, a big musical number that starts heating up around the 2:00 minute mark, complete with back flips and ballerinas. In Technicolor!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 12:05 PM on April 24, 2015

This video of the Nicholas Brothers in Stormy Weather has some pretty amazing dancing.

Tip o'the tap shoes to Peregrine Pickle for the link.
posted by workerant at 1:12 PM on April 24, 2015

Best answer: These might tickle her: Fred Astaire making a dance partner out of a piano in "Let's Dance" and E. E. Horton doing a bizarre knee dance with spacesuited Betty Grable in "The Gay Divorcee."

Any chance you could use dance clips to tease her into using youtube on her own? The "astonishment when the beloved thing appears" effect is the only thing that's given my 84-year-old dad the curiosity to explore any part of the internet.

Also, if she's not quite up to exploring youtube without guidance, a fun middle ground might be for you to create a youtube playlist, which is super easy and generates a shareable link that takes one straight to that list of content (which I think even auto-plays in sequence). This might be easier for you both than posing individual links to her facebook wall (but whatever works!).

Good luck and I hope you both have lots of fun digging up gems.
posted by jessicapierce at 3:14 PM on April 24, 2015

Best answer: One more: if she is a fan of George and Gracie, this is a great video of Gracie Allen with Eleanor Powell. We forget that Gracie was also a hoofer, but she gives it up to Eleanor, who does amazing things with a jump rope.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:54 PM on April 24, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks, guys! She seems to be enjoying things so far.
posted by phunniemee at 10:17 AM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Look for Shirley Temple tap dancing.

Also Busby Berkeley. He's the guy that did all those HUGE stage-full of synchronized routines with hundreds of dancers.

Also Esther Williams synchronized swimming dances.
posted by CathyG at 2:05 PM on April 25, 2015

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