four words: ballet in slow motion


Boris to Vicki: "Why do you want to dance?"
Vicki: "Why do you want to live?"

I've got one of many answers: because of movies like The Red Shoes (1948). This film took my breath away. There is only one word that seems to sum it up: glorious. Directed by Michael Powell and starring Moira Shearer in her first film, The Red Shoes is funny, colorful, impeccable, innovative, vibrant, passionate, witty, important, timeless, and everything I might hope for in a film. Definitely one of the best I have ever seen. Ok, you might think I'm exaggerating, but after it ended and went to the DVD menu I wanted hit play again immediately!

It poses a very interesting question that Rosanna Arquette used as the foundation of her film Searching for Debra Winger (2002): Why do women (more often than men) have to choose between their work/art and being married or raising a family? I think The Red Shoes is a great movie for parents to show to their daughters and sons to start a conversation about the domestic gender roles that persist in our culture. And to tell them that unlike Vicki Page, they do not have to make the tragic choice that she does between love/marriage/family and their life's work/passion/purpose.

It is strange but I guess not surprising that my two favorite ballet sequences ever set on the film were only released within four years of each other: Gershwin/Kelly/Caron/Minnelli and Easdale/Shearer/Helpmann/Powell. Now that I've just watched one, I have to watch the other!

Guess who wants a pair of red ballet shoes?

1 comment:

Moi said...

Very interesting post! Thank you! I'm a former ballet dancer so it's lovely to read about subjects to do with dance!