In honor of Rita Moreno receiving the Kennedy Center Honor this past weekend I pulled out my Blu-Ray of WEST SIDE STORY and watched “The Dance at the Gym.” It’s one of my all time favorite dance sequences in any film.
To this day I love WEST SIDE STORY and have many memories of seeing it in a theatre. There’s one time that I’ll never forget. The first time I saw the film I was four years old. My mother took me to the Cambria Theatre in Queens, NY. It’s now a Babtist Church. Near the end I was either on my mother’s lap or she held me close because the film was sad. I felt one of her tears fall on my left arm. If I think hard I can still feel it and its warmth. I can never watch WEST SIDE STORY without that memory coming back to me. It’s a nice, comforting reminder of Mom, the emotional, communal power of art and the brilliance of WEST SIDE STORY. How lovely!