Sonny Watson's Homepage
Ballrooms | Burlesque | Contests | Dances | Dancers | Marathons | Movies | Posters | Sheet Music | Troupes | Refresh
Music Lists: Contemporary WCS| Trad'l WCS| C/W Swing| Big Band| Disco| Gospel| Holiday| Hustle| Late Night| Latin| Latin WCS| Mash-Ups| NC2S| Techno
You Are here: Search Streetswing Site Site Search --->

Cyd Charisse

Stage Name

Birth Name

Cyd Charisse

Tula Ellice Finklea

         From her earliest years she was called Sid, because her older brother couldn't say "sister." She was a sickly girl who started taking dance lessons to build up her strength after a bout with polio. Cyd studied ballet as a child and later joined the Ballet Russe in 1934 as 'Felia Sidorova' and became part of the corps de ballet and toured the U.S. and Europe. To appear Russian with the nearly All-Russian company, she was first billed as 'Celia Siderova,' than as 'Maria Istromena.' Cyd was also known as 'Maria Istomina', 'Felia Sidorva' and 'Lily Norwood' in many ballet theater programs.

   After her fathers death, Cyd moved to Los Angeles where she met Nico and they partnered up as dance partners, then later Nico became Cyd's dance teacher. Later, Cyd married Nico Charisse in 1939. In the 1930's, Nico Charisse taught dance in Hollywood at 1358 N. La Brea and was quite a famous dancer in his day. One of his students at his studio was 12 year old Tula Finklea a.k.a. Cyd Charisse. Five years later they eloped in 1939 while in France - she was only 17.

   They have one son together (Nicky.) Their marriage ended in divorce in 1947 and Cyd Charisse later married singer Tony Martin. In 1953 Nico, age 46, married another student of his, Zita Torres, age 26. He continued to

Cyd Charisse Autograph

Coach a number of entertainers in his style of dance during his years in Hollywood. Nico Charisse died in 1970 at age 64.  Robert Tucker and Nenette Charisse married, Tucker was a Choreographer and Nenette was Cyd's Aunt who was a ballet teacher. Cyd was related to Zan Charisse, Nana Visitor, Ian Tucker. 

    Cyd later danced with many movie greats such as Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire plus danced with others such as Ricardo Montalban, Roland Petit, and James Mitchell as well as acted and danced in many other movies. Cyd was said to have the best legs in show business at the time and was sometimes billed as having "the most celebrated set of legs in Hollywood history." Cyd Charisse died in 2008 at age 86.


Birth Place

Birth Date



Amarillo, Texas 3/8/1921-6/17/2008 Nico Charisse (1939) Nicky Charisse
    Tony Martin (1948) Tony Martin Jr.

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Music Titles

Ballet Ann Miller n/a
Ballroom Charisse and Ford (1941)      
Butterfly Dance Fred Astaire      
Calypso Gene Kelly      
Jazz Gower Champion      
Spanish Flamenco James Mitchell (1954)      
Gypsy Dance Judy Garland      
Modern Nico and Charisse (1941)      
Tango Ricardo Montalban (1947+)      

Night Clubs



Thunderbird (Las Vegas) Nico Charisse School of Dancing. (became Gazzari's) 1934 - Ballet Russe'
Riviera Hotel (1964 - Vegas)   1964 - A Two Act Review
            1968 - Illya Darling
            1972 - No No Nanette
            1986 - Charlie Girl (London)
            1989 - Grand Hotel




1941 - Did Anyone Call 1948 - Milton Bearle Show 9/1946 - Dance Magazine
1941 - I Knew It Would Be This Way 1954 - Toast of the Town 8/9/1954 - Life Magazine
1941 - Poeme 1958 - USO All Star Xmas Show 9/1954 - See Magazine
1941 - Rumba Serenade 1959 - Meet Cyd Charisse  
1942 - Magic of Magnolias 1960 - Checkmate ( Dance of death)  
1942 - This Love of Mine 1978 - An American In Pasadena  
1943 - Mission to Moscow (Norwood) 1989 - Swimsuit  
1943 - Something To Shout About 1993 - Fraiser  
1943 - As Thousands Cheer An Evening With Cyd Charisse  
1946 - Ziegfeld Follies    
1946 - Three Wise Fools    
$1946 - The Harvey Girls [ DVD]    
$1947 - Till The Clouds Roll By [ DVD]  


1947 - Fiesta (Flamingo Dance with Montalban)   $ Cyd Charisse : du ballet classique à la comédie musicale by Jean Claude Missiaen
1947 - The Unfinished Dance (Cyd's Butterfly Dance)   1976 - Just the Two of Us
$1948 - On an Island with You(Tango Number with Montalban)  


$ 1948 - Words and Music   Cyd Charisse
$1949 - East Side, West Side   More Photos
$1949 - The Kissing Bandit(With Montalban and Ann Miller)    
1951 - Mark of the Renegade ("Amorata Number" with Montalban)  
$1952 - Singin' In The Rain [ DVD] (Great Dance scene with Kelly)  
$1953 - Band Wagon [ DVD] (Great dance numbers with Astaire)  
1953 - Easy to Love (Cameo with Tony Martin)  
1953 - Sombrero (Her Gypsy Dance, also with Montalban)  
$1954 - Deep In My Heart(Cyd's erotic dance number)  
$1954 - Brigadoon [ DVD] (with Kelly)  
1955 - It's Always Fair Weather [ DVD] (Boxing Number - You Knock me Out)  
1956 - Invitation To Dance  
$1956 - Meet Me in Las Vegas(her Famous Frankie and Johnny dance number)  
1957 - Viva Las Vegas  
1957 - Silk Stockings [ DVD] (Great dance scenes with Astaire)  
1958 - Party Girl (Her Exotic 'Bongos' Dance scene)  
$1962 - Black Tights [ DVD] (Her Exotic Ballet dances Numbers)  
1952 - Something's Got to Give (Actress, with Dean Martin)  
1966 - The Silencers (Cyd doing a striptease !!!)  
1985 - That's Dancing!  
$1994 - That's Entertainment III  
$1996 - Musicals Great Musicals: the Arthur Freed Unit at MGM  


Site Map| Disclaimer| Privacy Policy