Astaire, Kelly, and Kayla too


Fred Astaire once said  there was  even a graceful way of taking out the garbage. He was, of course, the most consummate of dancers. He had total mastery of  the aesthetics of the art of the dance.  Its fluidity.  Its subtlety and understatement.  The way art can conceal art. I'm  in awe each time I see him dance on the screen. How he tap-danced up the walls and on the ceiling in "The Royal Wedding".  The room turning with the camera in sync with his seamless dancing.  It was perhaps one of his most creative performances.  How he roller-skated a  pas de deux with Ginger Rogers in "Shall We Dance?" Something never done in the movies before. More than a few times I  have  imagined myself in Astaire's shoes.  Gene Kelly worked the same magic for me.  Who hasn't dreamed of   sloshing around like Kelly  in "Singing in the Rain"?  Of romancing Leslie Caron in song and dance  to the enchanting Gershwin melody "Our Love Is Here To Stay"? Most of us do  think we can dance.  We waltz, polka, cha-cha.  Or just undulate to the music.  But few of us pursue it as a career. But there is something about dancing that must go back to  mankind's earliest days on earth.  When dance was a metaphor and a medium of the very  mystery of life itself. On the stage of the Rialto Theatre in Joliet this past  June 2, my granddaughter, Kayla,  was the  embodiment of  these feelings I have about dancing. At the age  of 8 she was performing in the annual dance recital  of Pam's School of Dance. Her parents and grandparents, sister and brother proudly sat in the audience , their  attention lasered on her every movement.  The performing students---almost all girls---ranged from Kayla's age to those 18 or 19.  The younger students were cute and sweet with hints of promise; the older advanced students  danced with  the verve, discipline, and polish of  professionals.  Tap, jazz, and ballet.   A variety of styles and colorful costumes. This year's theme was "Music From The Movies".   The dance interpretation of Leonard Bernstein's "America" from West Side Story was a showstopper and one of my favorites. And there was a medley from "Singing in the Rain".  Pam must have known how I feel about Gene Kelly.


Leave a comment
  • Thanks for remembering with us some of the giants of musical magic
    . I could never choose between Astaire and Kelley so I just love 'em both!

  • In reply to Jack Spatafora:

    I'm with you. I wonder who would come third?

Leave a comment