Art, when it is real and the product of unique vision, can steal your heart in an instance, produce a kind of reaction that is physical, cerebral, emotional all at once.
Some say that the performing arts – song and dance – are capable of eliciting emotion in the way that fine arts often struggle to do. To those people I would ask, ‘Have you ever seen Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night or Sunflowers at a museum in Paris?’
All the while I would acknowledge that there is something incredibly moving about seeing artistry in motion, especially when the most obvious form of communication – words – are removed. For dance to truly display the power of emotions such as happiness, love and anger, however, it must be performed by a great dancer.
Technique is not everything and talent cannot be taught. These are just a few dancers who have clicked, tapped and tiptoed their way to our hearts with the greatest of ease…
If you grew up in the 1960s or 1970s and films like Singin’ in the Rain are part and parcel of your childhood memories, then you probably already know that Gene Kelly was in a world of his own. Dancers like Fred Astaire were elegant and light as air, yet Kelly was sensual, attractive and athletic, despite displaying incredible grace.
Gene Kelly was above all famous for two things: for modernising dance (by blending modern dance, classical ballet and tap) and for inviting the camera to break out of its two-dimentional mould. Thus, in many of his films, the camera becomes a fluid tool that follows the dancer across the room, using sweeping angles to become just another dancer on set. Kelly was prolific as well, combining his dancing duties with acting, directing and singing.
This dancer was made for his tap shoes, it seems. As a child, he was busy honing his craft at dance school when everyone else his age was playing sport. While at college, he taught dance at a local studio, performing alongside his brother, Fred, in small-scale shows.
In the late 1930s, Kelly finally made it to Broadway and soon after, he was spotted by Louis B. Mayer of MGM; the latter offered him a contract and in 1942, Kelly appeared in his first ever feature film, For Me and My Gal, alongside Judy Garland…
Words Marisa Cutillas