Monday, 2 January 2012

Street Dance

Street Dance also has a fine actor Charlotte Rampling as the artistic director/Principal of a ballet school in the UK anxious to get its most promising students into positions in the leading national company. She seizes on the opportunity to give the dancers the edge when she encounters a street dance crew seeking rehearsal space and insists they combine with her lead dancers after an accident where the crew unintentional damage a wall and cannot afford to pay the damage. There is an ongoing story line of the simplest kind unlike Fame for example where there was a serious attempt to say something of the lives of the students and staff and which led to the international Kids from Fame tour. Here the story is that the crew are at the point of breakup because the lead male dancer and the female lead dancer (Carly) and choreographer have parted because he says he needs time out of the relationship. In fact he has joined a rival crew preparing for the world street dance competition.

The idea of Ballet dancers and street dancers combining into one group is presented in the film as a clash of class and cultures. There is some truth in this in that ballet dancers are traditionally children of the middle class whose parents can afford the cost of training while street dance is said to have grown up out of disco dancing and the culture of the workingclass/underclass disaffected. While it is also true that those attending dance schools can concentrate on classical or contemporary dancing the training is as concentrated, professional and costly and those who can afford and are willing to devote the time usually undertake both classes. In their annual biannual production in theatre dance schools will present a mixed programme with some dancers appearing in both forms of dance routines.

The drive behind the film has been the success of individual and group street dancing in Britain’s Got Talent with George Samson the winner of the competition in the year that Susan Boyle came second and the two street dance crews of Diversity and Flawless appearing with one taking the title subsequently. This has proved an inspiration to youngsters and dance schools around the country with one impact being a flow of new students seeking to learn contemporary dance rather than the classical. This is highlighted in the film in which Samson plays the role of the school delivery boy and puts in a star performances at the world champions to everyone’s surprise and Diversity and Flawless who play group champions.
The Street crew also have ordinary and exciting lives whereas the classical dancers are closeted and boring. The street crews eat fast food spend the weekend clubbing and having passionate relationships.

The purpose of the film is to demonstrate that Dance is Dance and that great dancing requires concentration, dedication and discipline, that great dance requires creative choreography and that dancers can also have fun.

The storyline is that the two sets of dancers are hostile to each other and scathing at the techniques and lifestyles. The classical come to appreciate the skill of the contemporary and to enjoy life attending the Nottinghill Carnival and a disco club, while the street crew leader (Carly) is taken by the school Principal to see Swan Lake and is moved by the final scene in particular, What she does and this is not seen until the performance of the group at the World Championships which is a combination of classical with part of the final Swan Lake scene incorporated together with balletic lifts and somersaults and the raw and in your face energy of the street. To add tension the group is nearly divided when the audition for the ballet company and the world championships are held on the same day with overlapping times. Carly meets her former lover and they bed again without her knowing he is dancing for rivals. Needless to add the classical dancers get the jobs and the combined group win the championships. Charlotte Rampling who faces opposition from trainer Eleanor Bron and her boss has reservations but comes round to complete the picture.

The film is an effective use of 3D which is an ideal medium for relaying artistic events as well as sport with the BBC showing Come Dancing finale in 3D and Sky featuring Ballet, Contemporary and Irish Dancing.

It is anticipated that street dancing will form a an important part of the opening ceremony at the Olympic games much to the disgust of the Morris Dancers who are said not to have been included and threaten to perform a mass flash dance in one of the open areas around the stadium. There is also to be a second film released during the year with one observer noting that Flawless were filmed in Trafalgar Square in July so I would not be surprised if the film is about groups competing to perform at the Olympic games opening ceremony.

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