Before I talk about it, take a look at a mashup someone created to the exquisite Leonard Cohen song, “Dance Me to the End of Love.” It features Cary Grant and a plethora of his “leading ladies.” I enjoyed every moment of it, but it brought up three points I’d like to put out there after you see it.
First of all, Cary Grant gets to dance with such a dreamy series of luscious followers, each one of whom I’d be happy to guide around the floor.
Second, he leads with style and focus, paying close attention to his precious partners, and appearing to improve his skills as the years pass.
Finally, I feel sorry for young people – and for the rest of us – who no longer have slow dancing as a regular, constant part of their social lives. From a young age I knew what it was like to press against the body of another and move in sensuous unison. Through my formative years as a baby butch, my skill at leading and my devotion to being a good dancer scored me most of my romantic involvements.
The lesbian two-step – a step and then a kind of pulse-and-press, pelvic girdle to pelvic girdle – was the most effective non-verbal form of seduction, particularly adapted to the bars where most of our social encounters took place. Later, as an adult active in the fledgling European queer Ballroom and Latin American dance scene, I actually gained the skills to lead in a dozen dances – from the bracing swing to the heady cha-cha, from the elegant fox-trot to the voluptuous rhumba.
Oh, but we were talking about the movie star. Even though he is just doing smoochy dancing (not professional-type dancing) Cary Grant maintains a refined frame – that is, his posture is as it should be and he holds his followers with just the right combination of firmness and sweetness. His musicality is flawless. All of this is what every ambitious leader seeks to be and every follower seeks out. If I woulda been able to look into the future as a young adult and know that by becoming an actor I would end up leading all the most desirable lasses around the dance floor, I might have chosen that over working the French fryer at a hamburger joint. Who knew?