Invitation to the Dance, a full-length dance feature, is a bold and imaginative experiment in film-making. Through the medium of the dance alone, producer Arthur Freed and director-choreographer-performer Gene Kelly tell three separate stories. There is no dialog. Just ballet music, colorful costumes, and skillful photography.
Kelly has assembled a crew of outstanding hoofers, including such experts as Tamara Toumanova, Claire Sombert, Carol Haney, Diana Adams, Igor Youskevitch, and Belita. Standout sequence is the middle entry, Ring around the Rosy. Using the children’s song and game as the teeoff, the dance story to Andre Previn’s music follows the career of a bracelet as it changes hands in the perennial game of love.
The opening number is similar to the Pagliacci theme as the clown (Kelly) is frustrated in his unrequited love for the beautiful ballerina (Sombert).
The final sequence is a combination of live action and animations, the cartoon sequences being provided by Fred Quimby, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.