Essay about The World 's First Blue Collar Dancing Movie Star

1042 Words Oct 27th, 2014 null Page
“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 wanted to develop a truly American style. The only dancer in the movies at that time with any success was Fred Astaire, but he did very small, elegant steps in a top hat, white tie and tails. I was too big physically for that kind of dancing, and I looked better in a sweatshirt and loafers anyway. It wasn 't elegant, but it was me. (Krebs)
Kelly played on both the hockey and football teams during his high school years, and did not truly entrench himself in dance until 1929, when his younger brother Fred taught him how to tap, allegedly because Gene figured “favored boys who could dance” (Hill 152). The Great Depression disrupted Kelly’s initial attempt at a collegiate degree; even when he finally graduated from University…

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