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Gary Colombo and Gene Kelly



I do not even remember the first time I saw a Gene Kelly movie, I was so little, he was simply always a constant in my life. My father, Gary Colombo, was the same; he had always just been there.



Last Build Date: Thu, 02 Oct 2014 04:46:49 +0000

 



Gary Colombo and Gene Kelly

Thu, 06 Aug 2009 23:08:00 +0000

I do not even remember the first time I saw a Gene Kelly movie, I was so little, he was simply always a constant in my life. My father, Gary Colombo, was the same; he had always just been there. I used to often put them in the same category in my young mind. They were both built similarly, same skin and hair, but the main common trait they shared was the tap dancing. As long as I can remember I have memories of my father dancing away in the kitchen or the grocery store. I also was relentlessly dancing with my own reflection from the second I could walk. One of my favorite things to do was to put on “Singing in the Rain” and try to copy and learn all the moves while singing along of course. Some kids watch the same Disney cartoon movies over and over again, I watched Gene Kelly musicals. My grandfather would even tape then when they played on television and then give them to me for my collection. I had officially found my first idol. I started dance lessons at age four and fell in love with ballet, tap, and jazz. I would take on and off, when finances allowed, for the rest of my life. However, the training I received from my father never took a break. Any chance that presented itself he would teach me a new step or song. My first voice lesson was during a car ride, he would sing a line of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and then I would repeat that line till I knew the whole song by heart. Grocery store trips were the perfect time to practice flaps and shuffles down each aisle with my two sisters, my brother was never into the dancing as much, he is solely a musician. I enjoyed every minute of it. We four Colombo kids were incessantly rehearsing and putting on our own mini shows complete with music and costumes rather than playing other more typical childhood games. My Dad’s mother, my grandmother, was a dancer and dance teacher and before that my family performed in vaudeville after coming to America from Italy. I am the fourth generation of performers on my father’s side and I am increasingly thankful for those unbelievable genes. My Dad attended AMDA in New York in the 70s and it would be my great honor to continue this tradition. I was twelve years old and performing with the rest of my musical family in a revue type show. It stands out in my memory for two reasons: I got to sing and perform the part of Mary from “Secret Garden” (a dream role for me at the time), and my father sang and danced to the song “Singing in the Rain” with the umbrella and everything. He looked just like Gene Kelly up on stage; it will forever be engrained in my mind. It makes me exceedingly proud every time I see my Dad perform; it is particularly obvious that it is precisely what he was born to do and that nothing makes him happier than being on stage. I have the same “problem.” Gene Kelly was very similar, he grew up dancing and he was a known perfectionist. Sometimes hard to get along with, my father can be like this too, but always committed to creating something new and different. My Dad often likes to think and create outside of the box as well. For many years I have studied everything I could get my hands on having to do with Gene and all my research reminds me so much of my father it is scary. I have gained a great deal by watched the two of them over the years. Although it is not going to be easy, I am very excited to be following in their footsteps. I was a measly eight year old when Gene Kelly passed away; it was absolutely heartbreaking that I would never get the chance to meet him in person. I even wrote a song about the whole situation the very day he died entitled “Bye Bye Gene,” which I performed in a showcase two years later (available on request). It was a major moment in my young life; it was as if someone in my own family had died. At least the movies Kelly made would last forever and I would always be able to remember him in that way. Each and every magical film inspires me to keep working toward my own goal of being a successful performer. Gene Kelly and my father motivate me to work especially[...]