Say a dance prayer for Gene Kelly in Pittsburgh 2

Dance · Film

deb'sgenekelly-2smallCome on, home town!

What’s this I hear about twenty years of fruitless effort to erect a statue of dancer Gene Kelly  — in a city where bridges, steel mills, skyscrapers, and sports stadia get built with ease?

In a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, retired entertainment columnist Barbara Cloud gripes that she’s grown despondent waiting for a little recognition for a great home town artist.

deb'sgenekellySays Ms. Cloud: “I don’t ask for much. Just a non-sports statue. A figure from the performing arts, one whose name is synonymous with Pittsburgh.”

You see, Western Pennsylvania, the bastion of football, baseball, and all sorts of other manly sweaty stuff, also birthed a few good dancers, among them, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and … ahem … me!  But of all of Pittsburgh’s dancing sons and daughters, probably the most famous is Gene Kelly.

Unlike Graham, who skedaddled to Santa Barbara, California, at age 15 and Taylor who deprecated the Steel City — then the nation’s soot-spewing industrial engine — Kelly was proudly all-Pittsburgh, fully growing up, learning to dance, and eventually teaching in his family’s East Liberty dance studio.

Pittsburgh and dance. Dance and Pittsburgh. Kind of goes together, doesn’t it? Don’t forget that Nijinsky danced in Pittsburgh.

2 thoughts on “Say a dance prayer for Gene Kelly in Pittsburgh

  1. Marcus Remodeling Mar 12,2010 2:27 pm

    If you start a petition let me know I’ll sign it for the statue cause!

    Pittsburgh Contractor Mark Bechler

  2. Emma Lewis Thomas Dec 30,2009 1:20 pm

    This is a disgrace! I grew up south of Pittsburgh dancing in West Virginia; my daughter attended Carnegie-Mellon U. theater program, graduating with Rob Marshall, her dancing partner for several musicals at school and another home-town dancer who is making a great career in Hollywood (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, among other movies he has directed). Suggest you get in touch with Rob and see if he can help with the Gene Kelly statue.

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