The University of Pittsburgh today observed its own 225th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of the birth in Pittsburgh of special Academy Award-honored dancer, director, choreographer, actor, singer, and Pitt alumnus Gene Kelly (1912-1996) by setting a new World Record.
A total of 3,524 incoming Pitt freshmen students held umbrellas aloft during a choreographed dance on the lawn adjacent to Pitt’s Petersen Events Center. They held custom-made umbrellas imprinted with Pitt’s 225th-anniversary logo and the words “Celebrating the 100th Birthday of Gene Kelly.”
The dance event honoring Kelly, one of Pitt’s most renowned alumni, was designed to remind spectators and participants alike of Kelly’s iconic dance sequence from the classic 1952 film musical Singin’ in the Rain, in which he dances up and down a rain-drenched street twirling an umbrella and splashing in puddles. This sequence is considered by many to be the most memorable dance performance on film.
By the end of their 6-minute dance, the students had shattered the Guinness World Record for the “Greatest Number of People Simultaneously Performing an Umbrella Dance at a Single Venue.” The previous record, set in September 2011 in Bucharest, Romania, involved 1,461 participants. Official certification of the new Pitt record is forthcoming.