Q&A with Cynthia Rhodes
Cynthia's response to fan questions & comments. Compiled questions submitted in February, 2003.
The athletic dance style of Gene Kelly and the top hat & tails style of Fred Astaire enjoyed immortal influences on film. If you could go back in time for a one-chance opportunity to share the dance floor with one of them, which actor would you choose and what film would it be?
Even at age 46 if you put a gun to my head I couldn't tell you who I liked better, Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire. But as far as movies go, hands down without a doubt, I would have loved to have taken Leslie Caron's place in "An American in Paris." I've always loved different styles of dancing, and that movie embraced them all.
Though Hollywood has seen a recent resurgence of dance-related films, critics have largely marginalized them, citing they are less about the art of dance and more about provocative overtones. Are these reviews an unfair assessment or do they accurately outline the current trend?
It is true, there is a resurgence of dance movies. I would have loved to see a lot more. If you're talking about provocative overtones in just dance films you have to take an overall look at "films," not just dance. I think it's fair to say that movies in general are not the same kind of family oriented movies they used to be. As far as the dancing goes, it depends on the style of dancing you're talking about. Dancing can be anything you want it to be. Beautiful, funky, fun, sexy. It all depends on the style. Also it's all about the eye of the beholder. Some may think it's too seductive, while others can appreciate the art of it (and I'm not talking about strippers).
Do you attend many ballets or dance/musical stage performances? What are some of the most memorable productions you have seen?
I'll never forget seeing my first Broadway musical in New York. It was "A Chorus Line." I had gone there to do a screen test for the movie version. I had no idea what to expect. I was mesmerized. The cast was brilliant. I was so ready and excited thinking of the possibilities of being a part of the movie. Now you're asking yourself, "I don't remember her in that movie." Don't run out to get it. I lost the role to a wonderful actress who had been doing the lead on Broadway for years. She deserved it.
History may remember you primarily as the athlete who provided significant contributions to cinema dance in the latter 1900s. Is it bothersome that your acting and singing ability gets overshadowed at times?
Never. I "was" primarily a dancer who got the opportunity to sing and act. I wasn't, nor ever will be a Barbra Streisand. I feel very fortunate that God put me in the right place at the right time. I have nothing to feel bothersome about, especially what the critics thought. I will cherish the wonderful memories of each and every film I was blessed to be involved in, whether I was dancing in it or not.
The cult of AMC has asked: Do you follow the character of Anna in All My Children? Have you ever had occasion to correspond with Finola since the days of Staying Alive?
No, I'm sorry to say, I have not kept in contact with Finola. I don't
watch soap operas, but I'm sure she's wonderful. I did see her in one
episode of General Hospital years ago. She is so beautiful and talented, I
wish her nothing but the best as she deserves.
I have 9, 10 and 12 year old boys who keep me very busy. I take my hat off to ANY woman who can juggle both family and career, whether they have to or choose to. That has to be a very hard decision. I, on the other hand had the choice. First, because I am blessed enough that I don't have to work; second, I have a wonderful and loving husband who let ME make that decision, and knowing that he would be behind me 100% whichever way I chose. And last but not least, I remember even as a child how I loved coming home to my mom, waiting to listen to my day. Whether I needed to talk or not, she was there. All I know is I have the greatest and most fulfilling title I have ever had, "Mom." About going back to work, maybe after they're off to college I might think about trying to go back ... but wait, soon after that I've got to start thinking about grandkids.
Aside from your husband, who are some of your favorite recording artists, past and present?
Richard is working with one of my all time favorites, Kenny Loggins. He's sounding better than ever. The stuff we have in the car for me and the kids to listen to is everything from Linkin Park, Sum 41, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Blink 182, to Coldplay, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Susan Tedeschi. I love this group called Maroon 5. But my favorite right now is Eva Cassidy.
What books have most inspired you? Any favorite authors?
The Bible always. I am reading this incredible book by Rick Warren called "The Purpose Driven Life." Do yourself a favor and grab a copy.
Your teenage years in gymnastic competition were undoubtedly marked by discipline and time-management, a time that most teens spend socializing and having fun. In hindsight, any regrets over missing out on social occasions due to demands of training?
None, I am so grateful for all the other distractions I had during my preteen and teenage years. I think one of the reasons so many kids get into trouble these days is because they have no passion for anything. They're bored. I don't mean that you should fill their lives up with so much that you don't have any time for family, because that's a whole other problem we have as a society. Keep them interested in something that they love to do, apart from school.
Among the vault, floor exercise, uneven parallel bars, & balance beam, what event did you best excel in and what event did you struggle with the most?
Floor was my best event. I loved to interpret dance and acrobatics together. Uneven parallel bars was my worst event. I never got the concept of wrapping ones body around two small bars.
It seems that you had little time for television viewing during the early years. Today, do you ever watch reruns of the popular shows you missed during its original airing, like Get Smart, Green Acres, Mary Tyler Moore and, dare we ask, The Doris Day Show?
Well, it's funny you asked that. Since a lot of shows are geared towards adults, we Tivo shows like the Andy Griffith Show, Little House On the Prairie, The Cosby Show, and the kids on their own started watching The Price Is Right!!!!
Gene Simmons seems to present a dual persona with the public. Sometimes he is the demon rebel rocker and other times he is the knowledgeable gentleman who discusses world events. Which Gene Simmons did you see on the set of Runaway?
He was nothing but a gentleman. And yes he is one of the most intelligent men I have ever met. He is very business savvy. I loved working with him and the rest of that cast. We shot that film in Vancouver, Canada. When you're away from your family and friends for 3 months you become very close to your cast members. But no, not that close.
Were you really in those high stiletto heels throughout the entire Rosanna music video?
Oh yes, and I still have the back pains to prove it.
From any era, who are some of the actresses you respect the most?
Katharine Hepburn (especially when she was with Spencer Tracy)
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