Rita Moreno confesses she had to ‘dance down’ in ’80 for Brady’ number

Rita Moreno confesses she had to ‘dance down’ in ’80 for Brady’ number

“I was trying to find a way to not dance well,” the Oscar winner says with a laugh.

Author Maureen Lee Lenker

For many moviegoers, their first exposure to Rita Moreno was watching her dance in West Side Story, The King and I, or on The Electric Company.

So, when it came time to knock out a number in 80 for Brady, the EGOT winner was presented with a unique challenge — try to look like a bad dancer.

“I was trying to find a way to not dance well,” Moreno tells EW. “I was dancing down. Because the first thing I ran into when we realized we had to do this little dance was that everybody, to the woman, said, ‘Oh, my God, but you’re the dancer.’ And they wouldn’t stop with that.”

For her part, co-star Sally Field was horrified to learn that Moreno actively tried to look worse at dancing than she is. “I just wanted to dance next to Rita for once in my life,” she says. “It was so good to be standing next to you, and all this time, you were dancing down.”

80 for Brady

’80 for Brady’

| Credit: Scott Garfield/Paramount

The realization made Jane Fonda laugh, saying, “Sally is fighting to dance next to Rita and keep up with her and thinking, ‘I’m keeping up with Rita.’ And Rita was trying to dance badly.”

But Moreno has nothing but praise for Field’s moves, saying, “We had fun. She was so enjoyable because she loves to bounce. She’s a bouncer, and I love watching her. She’s so adorable.”

Interjects Field, “Don’t say adorable, we can’t do adorable anymore. I don’t [bounce] anymore. A year later, I’m barely moving.”

The dance number in question is a small number that the four women are forced to improvise when they are caught trying to sneak into the Super Bowl. Claiming to be the halftime dancers for Billy Porter’s choreographer, a security guard forces the quartet to show off their moves as proof, which leads them to strut their way through the twist, the mashed potato, and other classic moves.

80 for Brady

Credit: Scott Garfield/Paramount

Despite the improvised feel, the ladies had to learn a routine. “It was totally choreographed and it was extremely long in the beginning,” says Fonda. “And very, very complicated.”

“It really was too many counts” adds Moreno, while Lily Tomlin agrees, saying, “We kept complaining that this is too advanced. It’s got to be simpler.” Fonda says she had to hide behind her co-star because she’d recently had shoulder surgery and couldn’t lift her arm very high.

Watching the number, you’d never know the various complications that went into it. Even Moreno would agree that it looks great in the end: “May I just say that it’s a charming number? It really is.”

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