Starstruck: Gene Kelly's Love Letter to Ballet
Sunday, Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. on KPBS 2 / PBS Video app
One of the first choreographers to bring the ‘American style’ to Europe, the legendary entertainer Gene Kelly ("Singin’ in the Rain," "On the Town") was invited to create an original work for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1960. His jazzy, joyful Pas de Dieux was highly acclaimed at the time but has been rarely performed since. The Scottish Ballet has lovingly revived the original ballet and added a new twist featuring principals Christopher Harrison and Sophie Martin.
Gene Kelly’s wife and biographer Patricia Ward Kelly commented, "Gene is so often remembered for his brilliant performances on screen that people forget—or do not know—that he directed and choreographed the pieces as well. The Scottish Ballet production of “Starstruck” shines a light on Gene as he most wished to be remembered—as a choreographer who created a particularly American style and changed the history of dance forever."
This Pas de Dieux tells the story of Aphrodite and Eros, who descend to earth. On the beach where they have landed, the ardent goddess and mischievous god seduce respectively a lifeguard and his fiancée. Just when the beautiful Aphrodite is dancing with her suitor, Zeus arrives to win back his fickle wife, and everything returns to normal. The reconciled immortals return to Olympus, leaving the humans to their earthly loves.
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Credits: PBS SoCal and KCET