I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Friday, May 9, 2014

My 3 Favorite Gene Kelly dances

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
Today I'm going to nerd out on Gene Kelly, actor, dancer and director extraordinaire!  I have a few videos of his dances on my iPhone that I like to watch on occasion to perk me up and motivate myself to get on with my day so I wanted to talk about my top three favorite dances from his films.  Don't look for the Singing in the Rain dance however because although I love it so much, ultimately these three dances are just a tiny bit closer to my heart.  If you've never seen a Gene Kelly film, do go forth and watch Singing in the Rain and find out how amazing he is!  It is what got me started as a fan!  (And also feel free to click on the youtube link in the song titles below to watch the dances I talk about in this post!)

"Put Me to the Test" from the 1944 film Cover Girl
The days of the good old knights are gone
But chivalry still carries on

The premise of this dance is that Gene works in a clothing store where beautiful women model those clothes and he tries to get them to give him the time of day by pledging chivalric love.  They mostly pass him by until Rita Hayworth's character gives him a chance.  I think the earnest lyrics and the premise of this dance is partly why I'm so enamored with it.  It also features a really catchy, jazzy melody with Rita Hayworth more than a match for Gene's dancing.  These two dancing in synchronicity is a beautiful thing.  They whirl and twirl around the stage with such effortless beauty and the brisk and buoyant choreography accompanies this wistful and lively song perfectly.  

"The Worry Song" from the 1944 film Anchors Aweigh
If you worry, if you worry, if you bother your head
It won't help you, it won't help you, it will hurt you instead

In this song, the plot of the film takes a fantastical turn as Gene's character is telling a story to some kids about visiting a distant land where he finds Jerry the Mouse it's unhappy ruler.  This song is meant to bring some happiness and dance skills to Jerry and just epitomizes happiness to me.  It's cool that this pioneered new techniques of melding live action with animation, but I'm mostly focused on the wonderful way Gene moves through this very large and surprisingly empty throne room.  Okay, I should state unequivocally that everything Gene Kelly dances looks effortless (even though it's not) but this song really takes it to another level because watching Gene move from tap dance to jumps and twists just makes me feel like it is possible for humans to actually develop the ability to fly someday.  

"Concerto Ballet" from the 1967 film Les Demoiselles de Rochefort
Je cherchais partout. (I looked everywhere)
Moi aussi, je vous cherchais partout. (Me too, I looked everywhere for you)

I talked about this film last year because it is one of my favorites, and probably this dance is my absolute favorite out of every dance Gene has ever done.  It's romantic and subdued, with gorgeous visuals, set to a lush orchestral piece.  The film sets up multiple missed opportunities for these two characters (and others) to connect and in this scene they finally find each other again.  While it is patently unrealistic for them to immediately start dancing, it is really beautiful for their feelings to come out in dance, and it appeals to my romantic soul.  The dance itself is pretty simple and more ballet focused than my two tap-infused earlier picks (Françoise Dorléac wasn't as skilled a dancer), but the way the two are connected in dance even when they are not touching is completely in keeping with the way all the romances in this film develop.  They are connected even when they are apart.  It makes me melt just a little.  I love this dance so much!

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  1. I love you mm kk? Yes another lover of musicals and all things from this era. I wonder what happened - why did the love of musicals on the big screen die out? I mean yes we can go and watch them at a big city local theater with the acting troupe but it's just not the same as the ones they used to produce for the big screen.

    Gene Kelly is the man and I think this era of film was so amazing because it asked so much MORE of an actor. You had to be able to sing, to dance, to act. Heck now a days you don't even have to be able to act to be in film *gags over some certain YA movies*

    I need to have a Gene Kelly movie night now!

  2. It's HUG time! :D I'm so glad you are a fan of the classic musicals too! I really got into them kinda late, but when I saw Singing in the Rain, I first devoured everything Gene Kelly did and then tried some of the other musicals. I think (hope) musicals are kinda making a comeback on the big screen - at least they are doing more live TV productions which I am really excited about!

    It is fantastic to see triple threat actors - I tend to appreciate (read: "obsess over") actors more when they have all kinds of different talents. And Gene's dancing is so glorious - so inventive and light and inspiring! I'm going to have to have a Kelly movie night soon now too! :D

  3. Gene Kelly is the BEST! Singing in the Rain is my favorite movie of all time. It's hard for me, though, to rate his dances without taking into account how I felt about the movies those dances were in.

    I do love the Worry Song. Doesn't Gene look striking in that sailor outfit?!

  4. I think I could watch Gene Kelly dance all day. I've never seen any of these movies or dances, but I loved them all! Seriously, the music in "Concerto Ballet" is absurdly gorgeous. Singin in the Rain is one of my favorite movies and musicals of all time. It's funny, though, the actual song isn't my favorite from that movie. I just love everything else in it so much. His dancing really does look effortless... Oh Charlene, now you've reminded me that I need to watch more of his movies! :D

  5. I love Rochefort it is a gorgeous movie...think it is coming out on blueray need to get a copy!

  6. Oh Singing in the Rain is just amazing - I saw it when I was older and couldn't believe I missed out seeing it in my childhood. It really wasn't what I thought it would be at all - it was so funny and charming and the songs really fit perfectly.

    Gene certainly knows how to rock the sailor outfit! :D

  7. Same for me!! I am glad you loved the music in the Concerto Ballet - it probably did half the job of me loving that dance so much. Each couple in the film has their own theme, and this one was just the best - it made me want to skip over the other couples. :D

    Which is your favorite song from Singing in the Rain? They do have so many good ones - I was going to try and guess which one you liked, but now I think it's too difficult! There are too many possibilities!

  8. Oh is it?? I need to get it too! I hope it has extras too - the European release has a documentary they really need to release over here too!

  9. Alice @ Alice in ReaderlandMay 12, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    The Worry Song is so cute, I've loved it since I was little. Thanks for including the links, I'll have to watch the other dances.
    Fun post!!! :)

  10. Oh I wish I had seen The Worry Song when I was younger - I'm sure I would have been obsessed with it then! I hope you enjoy the other dances as well!

  11. I have yet to see Singing in the rain, but I've seen the dance scenes on Youtube and love them. Have you seen Fred Astaire movies? There is some great dance scenes in them too.

  12. I've seen a couple of Fred and Ginger movies and some of Fred Astaire's dances on youtube - so really not a lot! I really like the one where he is dancing on the ceiling! (of course, who doesn't like that one!) I need to see more of him though I will always be a Gene girl! :)