2 3 Throwback Thursday and Gene Kelly | Ballet Webb

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Gene Kelly

Throwback Thursday and Gene Kelly
Another dancer who changed the course of dance history:  Gene Kelly.  Famous for his roles in movie musicals of the 1940 and 1950s, he is often compared to Fred Astaire.  Both were innovators who added much to dance, but they were very different dancers.  Gene Kelly’s style was athletic, and earthy while Fred Astaire was elegant and smooth, and often performed in a tuxedo.
Gene Kelly brought the common man into dance in the movies.  He often performed in “real” clothes, and danced in every day settings (like a rainy street in Singin’ in the Rain which he did despite a 103 degree fever).
He worked behind the camera as well, working not only as choreographer, but also as director, writer and producer.  He experimented with new film techniques like double exposures, having dancers move toward the camera so they would look more three dimensional, and having camera movements synchronized with the musical beat. 
He also danced with a cartoon character, Jerry the mouse in the 1945 movie Anchors Aweigh.  For each second of the dance, twenty-four drawings Jerry were required.  According to Gene Kelly’s widow, Patricia Ward Kelly, when Gene was asked who his favorite dance partner was he said:  “Jerry the mouse.  Because he showed up on time and worked his little tail off.” 

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #15 
“Gene Kelly was famous for dancing in the movies of the 1940s and 1950s.  He also changed the way dance was done on film.”

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