Choreography: Bob Fosse and Gene Kelly

How two men influenced stage and film musicals, and today’s pop culture
Gene Kelly
Dancer, actor, choreographer,
Born 1912 Died 1996
Parents made sure all 5 Kelly
children had dancing, art, and
music lessons out side of school.
Often made fun of by classmates
because he took dance.
Gene Kelly
Involved in all areas of high school
Graduated high school at 16
Attended Penn State College in 1929
Great Depression- part time jobs gas
station, tire roller, dance instructor
Transferred to Unvi of Pittsburg;
majored in econ
• 1931- Harriet Kelly opens dance school with Gene has head
• Viewed teaching as temporary, wanted to go to law school
• Only lasted 3 months in law school at Unvi of Pittsburg
• Dance school expanded to 2 locations
• Moved to New York
Gene KellyBroadway
Age 26- 1st job as chorus boy
1st big break- Harry the Hoofer in the
play “The Time of Your Life”
Quoted as saying “I realized that there
was no character—whether a sailor or a
truck driver or a gangster—that couldn’t
be interpreted through dancing, if one
found the correct choreographic
Pal Joey- role on stage earned him a
film contract
Gene Kelly Pal Joey
Gene Kelly and Film
Film contract prohibited him from joining
Loaned out to MGM for “For Me and My
Gal” with Judy Garland
MGM bought contract
Other big movies “Cover Girl”
(mentioned in Follies, and “Anchors
For Me and My Gal
Gene and Jerry
Gene Kelly
American in Paris and
Singin’ in the Rain
American in Paris- shot in Hollywood
Brought more honor and money to MGM
and Kelly than any other movie before or
1st musical to win Oscar for Best Picture
7 other Oscars
Kelly Oscar for his “extreme versatility
as an actor, singer, director, and dancer.
I Got Rythem
An American in Paris Trailor
Gene Kelly
American in Paris and
Singin’ in the Rain
Final film in Kelly’s great trilogy
On the Town, An American in Paris,
Singin’ in the Rain
Singin in the Rain
Make 'Em Laugh
Broadway Melody
Based on songs by Arthur Freed
Look back of the development of movies
Near perfect film
Appears on several best movie lists
1 of 25 films on the Library of Congress
National Film Registry.
Bob Fosse
Director and Choreographer
Changed stage, film dance and still
influences dance today
Provocative, entertaining, and never
seen before
Like Gene Kelly he changed how dance
was seen on screen
2D vs 3D
Robert Louis Fosse, Chicago 1927
Bob Fosse
Like Kelly big family
youngest of 6
private lessons
child prodigy
Dancing professionally in night clubs
and vaudeville and burlequse in high
Atmophere influenced later adult work
Dark Themes
Bob Fosse
After Navy was married 2X in 7 years
Minor chorus parts dancing
Big Break- MGM film “Kiss me Kate”
Big Break Broadway- The Pajama Game
Over night success because of dancing
pelvic thrusts
hunched shoulders
pigeon toed feet
mime like hand gestures
1st of many Tony Awards
Kiss Me Kate
Steam Heat Pajama Game
Bob Fosse
Big Spender
Pippin Performance Tonys
Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag
Directors where scared of provocative
60’s-70’s called for a return to innocence
Sweet Charity
Pippin- highest earning Broadway show
Bob Fosse and today’s Music
Mexican Breakfast/Single Ladies
Rich Man's Frug
Get Me Bodied
Mexican Breakfast/Single Ladies
Rich Man’s Frug/Get Me Bodied
Take Off with Us/Cold Hearted Snake
Take Off with Us
Cold Hearted Snake
Kelly and Fosse almost lead parallel lives. Private lessons, child prodigies,
performed professionally in high school in clubs and vaudeville, served in
the military, married multiple times, worked for other film and the stage.
Why are their styles of dancing so different?
Defend your answer.
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