In honor of the Love Goddess’s birthday, I won’t write about her tempestuous love life, her sad past/final years, or her scorching appearance onscreen. I’ll keep it simple: Rita Hayworth is one of the most expressive dancers I’ve ever witnessed, and what she conveyed, over and over again, was joy: The exhilaration of movement, the thrill of twirling and leaping and tapping and sweating. Ginger Rogers showed how lovely a body could be with every twist of her torso; Fred Astaire stretched the limits of the art form, as did Eleanor Powell and Gene Kelly. But none of them made me want to jump on stage and join them like Rita does. Talented as she is, she doesn’t wow me nearly as much as she woos me. Come on! she calls. This is so much fun.
So in honor of her birthday, take a leap, do a jig, do-si-do, tap your feet, pirouette, moonwalk. Even a bit of twerking or the Macarena will do. Don’t worry about your skill–or the lack of it. Just listen to Rita, and dance.