The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Lifestyles

August 27, 2012

Slate: Why they still dance like Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly, one of the biggest stars and greatest innovators from Hollywood's golden age of musicals, would have been 100 years old this week. Kelly's signature turn (and turns) in the 1952 musical "Singin' in the Rain" have inspired everything from a creepy reimagining of his iconic performance in a Volkswagen commercial to a "Greatest Number of People Simultaneously Performing an Umbrella Dance at a Single Venue" attempt in honor of his centennial.

But his influence is most pervasive in the world of dance. From Broadway to music videos, R&B concerts to the big screen, choreographers of all stripes still draw on the work of Gene Kelly.

Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler was inspired by Kelly's "low-to-the-floor" and "athletic" style while working on "In the Heights," for instance, which won him a Tony. While the show's score was influenced by Latin music and hip hop, its dance routines were shaped, in part, by Gene Kelly.

Kelly called his own style a "hybrid" of various approaches to dance, including modern, ballet and tap. His work with choreographer Robert Alton on the original production of "Pal Joey" — Alton would innovatively break up the chorus line into soloists and small groups — was a source of inspiration throughout Kelly's career, as were his brief experiences watching and working with black dancers Frank Harrington and Dancing Dotson. This eclectic mix of styles can be seen in the way Kelly moves effortlessly between hoofing, lyrical steps, acrobatics and jazz dance — as in "Good Morning" from "Singin' in the Rain," or the 16-minute ballet sequence "An American in Paris."

Kelly's legacy can also be found all over music videos. The photographer Mike Salisbury shot Michael Jackson for the cover of "Off the Wall" in the "Gene Kelly white sox [sic] and loafers" — a signature look for the movie star, which would soon become the singer's own recognizable brand (with added sparkle). Just a few years later, Jackson and Paul McCartney paid homage to Kelly and "Singin' in the Rain" co-star Donald O'Connor in their video for "Say Say Say," which features outfits almost identical to the "Singin' " number "Fit as a Fiddle." Paula Abdul, first known primarily for her dancing and choreography, referenced Kelly's famous dance with Jerry the Mouse in her kitschy video for "Opposites Attract," which includes a final tap-dance breakdown.

Text Only
Lifestyles
  • Choral group marks 10th anniversary CLINTON -- A Clinton choral group will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend. RiverChor will celebrate the anniversary at 2 p.m. Sunday at Zion Lutheran Church. The concert is free, but donations will be accepted. A reception will be held in th

    April 21, 2014

  • Human trafficking Stickers highlight human trafficking CLINTON -- Area establishments are receiving added decor this week thanks to an anti-trafficking committee. Sisters of St. Francis Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking Anti-Trafficking committee members are placing stickers in local establis

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • Calling all munchkins CLINTON -- The Clinton Area Showboat Theatre is looking for munchkins. Local auditions will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, May 19, at the Showboat for munchkins in the upcoming "The Wizard of Oz" performance. Munchkins may be of any age as long as

    April 22, 2014

  • St. Paul grants Church awards grants

    CLINTON -- An area church recently awarded area organizations with grants. The Bickelhaupt Arboretum, the Felix Adler Children's Discovery Center, First Circle Friends, YWCA, Voices for the Land/Monarch Teacher Network and Haley Westerkamp were grant

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • On Iowa program selects Clinton residents CLINTON -- Four Clinton residents recently were named On Iowa student leaders. Keaton Fuller, Jacinta Jargo, Kenya Lewis and Allyson Naeve were among 235 people selected to serve as welcomers to new first-year and transfer students at the University

    April 22, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Costume jewelry popular at auction It was a large and varied auction on April 12 at the National Guard Armory and by the start of the auction more than 100 people had already registered for their bidding number, and 30 to 40 additional people showed up during the first 20 minutes of t

    April 19, 2014

  • Way of the Cross photo The Way of the Cross By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer The Way of the Cross

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Student leadership Alumni honor students at luncheon CLINTON -- Clinton Community College student leaders were recognized at a student leader luncheon. The CCC Alumni Association honored 30 students, who were nominated by the CCC staff and faculty for showing leadership in the classroom, on campus and

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Elections
Front page
Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Poll

Should the city of Clinton appeal the open records violation ruling that will cost taxpayers $40,600?

Yes
No
     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.