The Rockettes’ Top 5 Gene Kelly Dance Moments

Known for his dashing good looks, energetic and athletic dance style, classic ballet technique and choreography, Gene Kelly singlehandedly transformed the musical film industry. He blended the relationship between dance and camera movement—telling a story through his own unique, visual terms.

While his talents as a dancer are justifiably legendary, Gene was also a talented director and producer—he worked behind the scenes delighting his audience with technical innovations and enthusiastic choreography.

Pushing the limits of the genre, Gene’s tireless work ethic led to many movie musical successes. From An American In Paris to the joyous Singin’ In the Rain, here are our top five Gene Kelly dance moments:

Pal Joey (1940)

Directed by George Abbott and choreographed by Robert Alton, Rogers & Hart musical Pal Joey was Gene’s first lead role on Broadway. Playing the character of Joey Evans, a charming dancer and singer who dreams of opening his own night club, Gene propelled to stardom on and off the stage.


For Me and My Gal (1942)

For Me and My Gal was Gene’s first on-screen debut! Starring alongside Judy Garland, the musical film was inspired by a true story based on the golden age of Vaudeville just before World War I. Judy and Gene went on to star in two more musical films together; The Pirate (1948) and Summer Stock (1950).


Anchors Aweigh (1945)

Made famous by the fact that Gene dances seamlessly with animated Jerry Mouse, Anchors Aweigh is a Technicolor musical comedy where two sailors (Gene and Frank Sinatra!) go on a four-day shore leave in Hollywood where they meet an aspiring young singer and help her with an upcoming audition. Full of musical tunes and dancing duets, Gene was given the freedom with this film to choreograph his own routines.


An American In Paris (1951)

Inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition by George Gershwin, An American In Paris (directed by Vincente Minnelli), is a musical film that’s intermixed with dance numbers choreographed by Gene himself. Gene stars as Jerry Mulligan, an American World War II veteran trying to make it as a painter in Paris. The film ends with a breathtaking finale: a 17-minute ballet sequence (set to Gershwin’s iconic score, An American In Paris, of course!) featuring Gene and his leading lady Leslie Caron dancing around lavish works of framed art.


Singin’ In the Rain (1952)

One of the most-loved and celebrated musical films in history, Singing In the Rain offers an interpretation of what Hollywood was like in the late ‘20s when three performers (Gene, Donald O’ Connor and Debbie Reynolds) were making the transition from silent films to “talkies.” As for that famous street dance number, “Singing In the Rain,” Gene explained that he was inspired by the way little ones liked to play in the rain.