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Aaron Richert

Ms. Heidi and Ms. Stephani


Jazz
17 March 2015
Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly is an American dancer and a household name. He
is known for his incredible tapping skills. He created a distinct style
and it can be seen in all of his movies, including those he directed.
He is most well known for his work in films like On the Town and
Singin in the Rain, but his life is much more interesting.
Gene Kelly was born on August 23, 1912, and his dancing
training started at a young age. The Kelly family created a dance
studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He danced with his brother Fred.
In 1938, he went to New York to audition and eventually got his first
role on Broadway in Cole Porters Leave it to Me. He then received
the lead role in Pal Joey on Broadway in 1940 and married Betsy
Blair in 1941. It was at that time he received interest from the head
of MGM, but turned it down after some miscommunication. After a
while, however, his contract was sold to MGM. He received
recognition for Blue Collar Dancing in Thousands Cheer, and
that was the start of his national image. He began a friendship
with Frank Sinatra in Anchors, Aweigh! The media attempted to pit
them against each other, but they had a friendship. Gene then went
on to collaborate with Stanley Donen to create the film On the
Town. He met Judy Garland while participating in Summer Stock.
This was the same film in which he incorporated an old newspaper
and a creaky floorboard into one of his numbers. Afterwards, he
starred in American in Paris. He then created one of the most
renowned movie musicals of all time, Singin in the Rain, where he
worked with Debbie Reynolds and Donald OConnor. Debbie
Reynolds credits her work in the business to Genes teaching. He
made common movements extraordinary in order to help the
common man identify with his dancing. After being involved with
the government blacklist, he went to Europe and directed films,
which did not receive commercial success, and then went back to
America. He did several projects afterward, leading up to his death.
He was honored
through the dimming of the lights on Broadway, and he is
remembered to this day.
I am a big fan of Gene Kelly. I grew up in a Musical Theatre
oriented family, and often watched videos of Gene dancing, and in a
way idolized him. I started training at a young age as well, using

him as a sort of inspiration to do well. His style was very distinctive,


which I adored, especially his way of integrating his ballet training in
his upper body, while being very athletic with his lower body. I also
admire his very large body of work, spanning from Broadway, to
feature films, to a TV series. His work in film is especially inspiring
due to his creation of several iconic numbers. His impact on his
costars and the people he worked with is very inspiring, and drives
me to become not only a better person, but also a better dancer.