I adore dancing, that much is clear. I love the music, the movement, the fellowship, etc. As for movies concerning dance, not so much. I’m not completely sure why. Perhaps I’d rather actually be dancing instead of sitting around staring at a screen where people are doing the very thing I’d rather be doing (not the most coherent sentence, I must ask your forgiveness, reader). I watched Shall We Dance? with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez. Apparently, it’s a remake of another movie by the same name, but I didn’t care enough to research further. Then there are ballet movies, like Billy EIliot. I saw the musical by Elton John on the West End and on Broadway. Let me recommend the musical over the movie right now. The movie, as far as I’m concerned, was just a bunch of swear words intermixed with a sad lack of satisfactory dancing. If you do intend to see the musical, I wouldn’t recommend bringing your kids as it too is full of unsavory words. However, the music and balletic numbers compensate for the lack of family friendliness. As for Black Swan, it looked a bit too over dramatic for my taste. I looked up the synopsis, and found it to be a strange mix of psychological thriller meets dance. No thanks. If I want those kinds of thrills, I’ll stick with Hitchcock.
There is a notable exception: musicals. Yes, I am one of those semi-crazy theater people (you might want to un-follow me while there’s still time 😉 ). That being said, I’m very picky about my musicals. But, this can get controversial, so I won’t go any further. One of my favorite dancing musicals has to be Singing in the Rain. Gene Kelly, you make me smile, enough said. I also enjoyed Saturday Night Fever because I love the Bee Gees. Not to mention John Travolta has some pretty smooth moves. And who could forget Irving Berlin’s White Christmas? I saw that movie for the first time two years ago after Christmas Day. As far as musicals went, I prided myself on being pretty well-versed for a semi-crazy theater nut. That is, until I came to college.
Not only were there people more knowledgeable in musicals, which I don’t mind at all really. I met a guy that had actually seen a Fred & Ginger movie before me! Perhaps I shouldn’t be as astonished as I am, but it honestly shocked me. What guy would willingly watch a Fred & Ginger movie? (That’s a rhetorical question. There are several possible answers, but I refuse to enumerate them). There was added jealousy because I prided myself on being a millennial with a love for anything before my time, especially Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, etc. The fact that a guy knew some Fred & Ginger songs from their musical movies made me turn green. The competitive streak in me flared up, and I was determined to watch at least one. I knew a little about Fred Astaire and his relationship with Ginger, but mostly I knew the songs from some of their movies, which I’d heard in other contexts. I’ve grown to love these songs: “Cheek to Cheek”, “Night and Day” (by Cole Porter), “I Won’t Dance”, and “The Way You Look Tonight”. By the way, the movie I watched was The Gay Divorcee. I watched it last night, and I couldn’t stop grinning throughout the whole thing! I’ll definitely watch more. I love Fred’s style of dancing. He’s very tall, but he moves gracefully. It’s like watching a feather. And while he may not be Sinatra, I love his soft, clear voice. I hear a great deal of intimacy and sincerity behind it, and it warms my heart. There’s no doubt that these movies have the same magical qualities that Disney movies do. I’m not sure exactly what that quality is, but there’s no doubt that its pure magic.
I may have been beaten to the punch, but I’m glad. If I hadn’t, I may have not gotten around to watching these classic movies. And you know what, watching classic movies helps me believe in innocent love, sincere people, and clean fun. While I’ll never dance with the Master, I hope to dance with my special guy in just the same way–cheek to cheek.