Erzsébet Földi played the daughter of the lead character in Bob Fosse’s film All That Jazz. She was 13 at the time and the role was refreshingly transgressive. Erzsébet was a talented young dancer. Obviously. Otherwise Fosse would not have cast her. She is required to dance in several major sequences: a delightfully intimate pas de deux with Roy Scheider who plays her father; a show dance with her father’s latest lover; and several sequences in the surgery hallucination sequence.

Her character is surprisingly complex. As his daughter she is loving, precocious and worldly-wise. She knows of his many transgressions. In one sequence she questions her father about a scene in his latest production in which two women kiss. He awkwardly begins to explain that some women prefer other women. She dismisses his explanation by saying that lesbian scenes are boring, thus implying that she thinks the lesbian scene is gauche and unnecessary. In another scene she tells him to ‘stop screwing around daddy’.

On another level she is one of the three Muses. This is most evident in the surgery hallucination sequence. She represents youth and the future; his current lover – the present; and a past lover, well, obviously his past. As the three dance they chide him for his errant ways.

In all ways the character she plays is an adult and she does it with some charm. It is the main character, her father, that is the child.

After the success of All That Jazz Erzsébet tried unsuccessfully for the role of Emmeline in another transgressive film, Blue Lagoon – the role that went to Brooke Shields.

As an adult dancer she performed with the American Dance Theatre and the Twyla Tharp Company. Sometime in the 90’s she became a born again Christian and left the industry. She now dances for God at her local church. There is a video of her taken in 2009 performing at the Love Gospel Assembly in the Bronx. Unfortunately the performance is cliched. All sentiment and no mystical depth. What a pity. Ah well.

One Response to Talented Kids: Erzsebet Foldi

  1. Zoe says:

    A pity, indeed. Just saw this on a flight from Frankfurt to the US, and remembered how much I loved it when I first saw it in 1980. Reinking and Foldi are such a great pair. Wonder what pushed Foldi to become a born-again Christian; she seemed so natural and open and wonderful in the movie. I hope she’s happy, but it does seem a shame. She seems to have lost so much of her youthful joy and exuberance.

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