‘I Love Lucy’: How ‘The Dancing Star’ Episode Highlighted Lucille Ball’s Hidden Talent

by Clayton Edwards

I Love Lucy was like a puzzle. Each piece of that puzzle was significant in its own way. At the same time, all of those pieces came together to create something that bordered on magical. The series changed the way television as a whole worked. It introduced new technology, a new shooting format, and even invented reruns. The iconic series also pushed the envelope in the realm of content. In short, it was one of the greatest shows to ever hit the airwaves. It wouldn’t have been what it was without the people who made it so fun and engaging for audiences.

Lucille Ball was the face of I Love Lucy. She was also one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood. She appeared on Broadway as well as in films. Lucille Ball could fill just about any role that came her way. She was a dramatic actress, a comedian, a voiceover artist, and a model. There wasn’t much that Ball couldn’t do.

In the fourth season of I Love Lucy, Ball introduced the television audience to her other talent: dancing. In the episode “The Dancing Star,” the leading lady cut a rug with Van Johnson. Van was MGM’s premier song and dance man for a good chunk of the forties according to IMDb. His only real competition was Old Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. So, you had to know your stuff to keep up with him when it came to fancy footwork. Ball proved that she was up to the challenge in the fan-favorite episode.

Lucille Ball Cuts a Rug on I Love Lucy

In the classic I Love Lucy episode, Van Johnson guest stars as himself. He is gearing up to perform at the Beverly Palms Hotel. Lucy is star-struck by him and, in true Lucy fashion, works her way into sharing the stage with him.

Lucy is a little nervous in the beginning. However, she quickly loosens up. She and Van Johnson rehearse together and, before long, they are all set to share the stage for Johnson’s performance at the club.

Set-ups like this one were common in the I Love Lucy. However, many times it ends with slapstick comedy and Lucy learning a lesson of some kind. This is because she’s usually in over her head with some crazy scheme. In “The Dancing Star,” though, things go much differently. They flawlessly pull off “How About You,” from Babes on Broadway. Check out this video of their dancing scenes from the episode.