This Week: Patricia Ward Kelly to Host Pitt’s Gene Kelly Centennial Celebration Oct. 25

Issue Date: 
October 22, 2012

One of the University of Pittsburgh’s most-renowned alumni—the special Academy Award-honored dancer, director, choreographer, actor, and singer Gene Kelly—will be the focus of Pitt’s Gene Kelly Centennial Celebration at 8 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Pitt’s Alumni Hall. 

Film historian Patricia Ward Kelly, Gene Kelly’s widow and the leading authority on the cinema and stage legend, will deliver Pittsburgh-and Pitt-centered commentary on her late husband’s life and career as she shares classic moments from his films and her unique insights with the audience. Mrs. Kelly recently has given sold-out presentations on Gene Kelly in Los Angeles and New York City. 

The event is free to the public, but because seating is limited, RSVP accepts only are required by e-mailing or calling 412-624-4147.

Gene Kelly earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1933. While at Pitt, he became involved with the University’s Cap and Gown Club and later served as its director from 1934 to 1938. He taught dance in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood and choreographed musicals at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and Nixon Theater. Kelly enrolled in Pitt’s School of Law but left soon after to concentrate on teaching dance.

Kelly is credited with bringing a particularly American style of dance to Hollywood musicals and for changing the look of dance on film through his revolutionary innovations with the camera, choreography, and animation. Kelly’s iconic dance sequence from the classic 1952 film musical Singin’ in the Rain, in which he dances up and down a rain-drenched street twirling an umbrella and splashing in puddles, is considered by many to be the most memorable dance performance on film.