Bedřich Smetana (March 2, 1824 — May 12, 1884) was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which became closely identified with his country’s aspirations to independent statehood. He is thus widely regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music.
When he was young, his father sent him to Prague to study in the autumn of 1839. After his father discovered that the young son was not paying much attention to his school, the father placed him temporarily with his uncle in Nové Město, where he enjoyed a brief romance with his cousin Louisa. He commemorated their passion in Louisa’s Polka, Smetana’s earliest complete composition that has survived.
This is my way to commemorate Smetana’s birthday (March 2, 1824) by combining his melodious dance music with some of the great dance clips from Hollywood films.
Music: Louisa’s Polka — Bedrich Smetana
Performed by Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Frantisek Jilek
Visual excerpts taken from these videos:
Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell: “Jukebox Dance” — Film: Broadway Melody (1940)
Fred Astaire, Leslie Caron: “Sluefoot” — Daddy Long Legs (1955)
Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell: “Begin the Beguine” — Film: Broadway Melody (1940)
Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds : “Be Careful, It’s My Heart”– Holiday Inn (1942)
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: “Too Hot to Handle” — Roberta (1935).
Lisa Miles and Tim Balfour – A Variation on Fred and Ginger for the third act of Opera Australia’s production of Die Fledermaus at the Sydney Opera House.
Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines — Film: White Nights (1985)
Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth: “So Near and Yet So Far” — Film: You Will Never Get Rich (1941)