Confession: I’ve never really been impressed by the dancing of Fred Astaire. Gene Kelly, however, is the man. Something about his style is carelessly confident, but suggests complete control. I’ve never seen dancing that strikes me as so fundamentally masculine.
Consider this scene from An American in Paris, just an average movie, really (if you disagree, imagine the film without Kelly in it–pretty bland, eh?). This isn’t even his best work–merely goofing off for children, really–but see how he has mastered the movement of his body? Every muscle easily obeys his every command. Such a variety of fluid motion reminds me more of Jackie Chan than Fred Astaire.