Gene Kelly Research Paper

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“The World’s First Blue-Collar Dancing Movie Star” The dancer known to film buffs and stage historians as Gene Kelly was born to an Irish-Catholic family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 23rd, 1912 as Eugene Curran Kelly. One of five children, Kelly started performing from a relatively young age as part of the Five Kellys, a family troupe patterned after the famous Seven Little Foys” (Fletcher 16). Although he took dance classes at the studio partially owned by his mother, Kelly did not necessarily want to pursue the art as a career. He is quoted as stating: In the 1930 's, when I started, Martha Graham was the only dancer doing anything modern, but she did it all to classical music. I couldn 't see myself doing 'Swan Lake ' every night, and I …show more content…
From the beginning this mentality integrated itself into Kelly’s dance style. His brother Fred relates that “Gene wanted to have a masculine image, so we [the studio] never wore tights or short pants on the boys” (Frank 174). Kelly fused his rugged personal attitude “with a muscular style of jazz tap dancing that was digging, loud, and strong” (Hill 185). The dancer’s Irish heritage shines through more than mere brute force; “some elements of the Irish tradition of jig and clog resonate in Kelly’s dancing” (Hill 185). Another source describes Kelly’s style of tap via a wide range of elements: “classical tap, acrobatic, roller skate tap, Soft Shoe, vaudeville, Broadway, movies (MGM)” (Frank 290). Kelly’s sporting pursuits during high school certainly aided him in added flashy acrobatic tricks into his routines, pushing the development of his uniquely athletic style even further. Even the casual observer can detect a more “down” center to his tap dancing, accompanied by looser limbs than those of his gentlemanly contemporaries. These elements provide Kelly’s performances a sense of exuberant youthful

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