19 October 2015

I Just Gotta Dance

Recently, I was a guest on my friends' podcast all about dance movies. We had a great time talking about our favourites, but being a podcast; we were limited on time and the ability to show visuals. Enter WWQTW?! I'm super excited to post again and glad they got me off my butt and working. You can listen to the podcast here or follow them on Facebook or Twitter by clicking on the links. It is also available on iTunes, so search for: a2b Aubyn & Brielle Talk About Stuff .

The movie that started this all was "Center Stage" (2000). To say we love this movie is an understatement. It was part of my yearly roster forever! While I was never a ballerina, I was a dancer for a number of years and I love some of the little things included in the movie like the beginning where all the dancers are getting ready for class. Sure, I think most dancers would show up with their shoes already sewn, it's good for people to see the level of customization that goes into each dancers shoes. It's blood, sweat, and tears baby!

Below is our agreed favorite scene: The finale. The choreography by Susan Stroman  is amazing. You have to have a sense of disbelief (how does she change complicated hair styles in 30 second changes??) but who cares? It's dancing!

My hosts each picked two additional dance related films they loved. Aubyn chose "Strictly Ballroom"  (1992) and "Every Little Step" (2008). Following the basic format for dance films of the Introvert/Lone Wolf who finds themselves or their humanity through their interactions with another person and through the art of dance. In this case, it's a ballroom dancer who dances to his own drummer but finds the importance of compromise with a new partner. Her favorite scene was the finale from "Strictly Ballroom". Of course! The finale of any dance movie always contains the best dance sequence.

"Every Little Step" is a documentary about the revival of "A Chorus Line" on Broadway. It follows the long and arduous process of casting a show and getting ready to perform. It's a great film about what it really takes to be a professional artist. Talent isn't enough- Everyone is talented. It takes a lot of hard work, a bit of ego, and the inability to do anything else. I love this doc as well, though if you're looking for big dance numbers you will be disappointed . If you like docs like this, I also recommend "Broadway Idiot" about the making of the Tony winning musical.

Brielle chose "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" (1985) and "Dirty Dancing" (1987). How can you have a dance conversation without talking about "Dirty Dancing"?! I just want to go to that kind of summer vacation in a resort in the Catskills. "Girls" is a great choice in this list because it speaks more to social dancing instead of professionally trained dancers. Kind of the "So You Think You Can Dance?" of it's time.

My two choices were "Shall We Dance?" (1996) and "All About Jazz" (1979). With only about an hour to cover all of this in the podcast, I couldn't adequately express my love for Bob Fosse. He is hands down my favourite choreographer. His signature style, deep lunges and back leans, finger snaps, wrist flicks, have influenced everyone who came after him. He may have been a bit of a son-of-a-bitch, but he was a talented one. Check him out in "The Little Prince" (1974):

The movements look effortless, and that was the particular hardship to his style. They were anything but easy. Every move is precision, every step thought out and rehearsed ad nauseam.

My favourite piece of choreography by Bob Fosse is in "Sweet Charity" (1969) featuring Shirley MacLaine and Sammy Davis Jr. The music, the dancing, the performances. It makes me smile every time. I can't help it!!

There are so many other great dance movies and scenes, but I would be remiss if I didn't also include a clip of Ann Reinking doing her thing. Perhaps I'll write another post with more suggestions and clips. Until then, what is your favourite dance movie or scene?

*all videos via youtube.com