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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Freed from all normal forces

Tone Deaf deals only with music, no more evanescences from the kitchen, the old motorcycling days or riffling through Proust (Hey, look at me! For a couple of weeks a year I could pass as an intellectual.) But dance is surely inseparable from music and this is dancing from another – entirely frictionless – world.

The musical nobody ever talks about: It’s Always Fair Weather starring Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey and Cyd Charisse. I know, I’ve mentioned it before but it stays with me. Three ex-soldiers, glad to have survived WW2, booze it up in New York before going their separate ways. Each has a grandiose plan: one to become a writer, another an artist, the third to run an haute cuisine restaurant. They agree to a reunion in ten years’ time to report progress.

All fail in quite shameful ways and the rest of the musical is concerned with the compromises most of us face up to in our lives. A downbeat theme which is why IAFW rarely figures on Top Ten lists except mine. I was reminded of it recently when I saw Dan Dailey dancing and realised how different his style is from Gene Kelly’s – so loose, so casual, so conversational.

But the clip I’ve chosen does feature Kelly. Given the nature of YouTube the chances are this sequence is quite well known, even though the context may be comparatively obscure. What makes this clip different are the sub-titles (Clear the strip ad to see them.). In the meantime, click on:

Why can't we all move like this?

8 comments:

herhimnbryn said...

Kelly on skates (so elegant), I can't help but think that his leg mucsles were made of iron!

Thanks for the clip, it was a grand start to my day.

Then of course, as far as legs go, one should never 'Cyd',

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gMhZbI0BQU&feature=related

herhimnbryn said...

That would be muScles.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

HHB: I've tried, many times, but I lack rhythm. I think - I just think - Cyd could teach me.

The Crow said...

I had such a heavy-duty crush on Gene Kelly, watched as many of his movies as I was allowed. Loved him in Marjorie Morningstar, so different from his musicals.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

The Crow: And as d'Artagnan in the Three Musketeers and - now here's a real collector's item - as an innocent abroad in a b&w thriller set in post-war Germany where the Nazis are staging a comeback. Memorable for the least plausible murder attempt ever. GK is watching a speedway-on-ice m/c race and is leaning on a straw bale guarding the track. One of the crypto-Nazis deliberately crashes his bike against the straw bale and sets it alight. What does GK do? Why, he just walks away.

Plutarch said...

Many of the things I am most reluctant to admit to are to do with music. Something to do with being seen as a Wally or just thought as stupidly sentimental. The umbrella scene in Singing in the Rain is still my favourite movie clip. Fred, and Ginger or Cyd I now find hypnotic though not when I was younger. But for you of all people to focus on dancing, which I believed you to abhor, is surprising. Unless on your way to Damascus you have suddenly begun to aspire to Foxtrot of jive.

Rouchswalwe said...

I'd like to see him do those moves on the real sidewalks of the Big Apple!

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

Plutarch: There is dancing and dancing. Doing it mano e mano is just about the most terrifying thing I know. However, back in the seventies, when Mrs LdP's professional life was quite different, I did find myself at a dinner at a Roman Catholic church social club in Teddington where Scotch cost half what it did in pubs and - as if in a dream - I allowed myself to be led out on to the dance floor by the nursing staff of a Teddington nursing home (one by one, I should add) where I shuffled round for three minutes or so with each. My most dissatisfied partner was of course Mrs LdP.

Musicals. In my youth the dancing bits used to bore me. Now they're the best bits.

Ballet. As I mentioned three or four posts ago I can now appreciate ballet providing someone else makes the arrangements for me to see it. I make an exception in the case of the movie The Black Swan, one of the sillliest I saw in 2011.

RW (zS): What a spoil-sport you are. Anyway on that mythical day when we finally meet - in the Azores somewhere, that being the most likely location - and when you discover I am tall enough and heavy enough to do you serious damage I will do you a favour and keep dancing off the agenda.