Watch a musical legend perform a breathtaking tap dance routine on roller skates

11 June 2021, 17:23 | Updated: 11 June 2021, 17:27

Donald O'Connor performs a breathtaking tap dance routine on roller skates
Donald O'Connor performs a breathtaking tap dance routine on roller skates. Picture: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Proof that dancers are all athletes...

Watch in awe as one of the world’s greatest entertainers, Donald O’Connor, tap dances on roller skates – just because he can.

The song, ‘Life Has Its Funny Ups and Downs’ is sung by then-child actor Noreen Corcoran who died very recently, in 2016.

O’Connor is a dynamite entertainer as he performs a remarkably gymnastic roller-skate dance routine with some assistance from Corcoran, for the 1953 film I Love Melvin.

The American actor, dancer and singer, who died on 27 September 2003, was made famous by his ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ solo in Singin’ in the Rain. The New York Times described it as “one of Hollywood’s finest dance moments”.

Read more: Watch this wonderful little and large tap-dancing duo

Donald O'Connor tap dancing on roller skates

When asked how he came to dance as he did in Singin’ in the Rain, he explained that actor Gene Kelly, who co-directed and starred in the classic 1952 film, told him he could do anything he wanted.

So, when the music came on, he made it up and the dance flowed out of him.

O’Connor was born into a family of Vaudeville entertainers. He once said: “I was about 13 months old, they tell me, when I first started dancing, and they’d hold me up by the back of my neck and they’d start the music, and I'd dance. You could do that with any kid, only I got paid for it.”

He is remembered for his athletic dancing style and mischievous charm.