Thursday, May 11, 2006

Antonio Banderas and 'Take The Lead...'

Well, how could I resist the temptation to see "Take the Lead"? It's actually a pretty good movie, although Banderas doesn't dance much, and they cut in and out of his routine so much with the camera that it's hard to tell how much he actually danced. I think Banderas can, in fact, dance somewhat. He certainly did his own dancing in the "Zorro" movies.

"Take the Lead" is based on the true life story of Pierre Dulaine, a New York City dance teacher who really did develop a dance class curriculum for public schools.

The best scene in the movie is unquestionably the Tango competition near the end of the movie. That's all I will say. There are other good scenes. The acting is okay, the dancing is better. The movie really is about dancing, and Banderas delivers some great lines. His style of inducing people to take up dancing is smooth and effective. Does it work in real life? Actually, yes, it does. I've done some of those things myself (although instead of using a tie, I just ask the girls to close their eyes).

Social dancing really is about trust and strength. Both dancers have to trust each other, both dancers have to develop strength (and stamina).

The Hip Hop dancing is good. Not the greatest on-screen Hip Hop I've seen ("Honey" had better choreography), but the kids are obviously good dancers.

One of the best lines in the movie is, "Do you want to dance? Then dance for yourself, not others." That is so true. Good dancers are good because they invest their love in the art.

There are some catty stereotypes and some cliched mini-dramas in the storyline. Nearly all the kids have some sort of conflict to resolve. The story between Jason and Lharette is the one that gets the most attention, but it doesn't really work well for me. To do it right, they would have to have their own movie. As presented in this movie, it's too choppy and episodic.

As I was working on other things before turning to the blog this morning, it seemed like there were a hundred ideas for points to make. But I cannot remember one of them. I did not intend to just write about the movie, but I'm a little tired.

I did drop by Elvia's Cantina around 8:00 PM. I was hoping Johnny Walden would have a little dance class, but he wasn't there and the only people who might have been there for the class left soon after walking in. It's a shame that Elvia's won't promote their dance class any longer. They used to bring in 15-20 people every Wednesday evening for that class.

There is a school across the street, Dancing For Life, which I have heard a few people talk about. It only opened a few months ago but it seems to be struggling to stay open. I know they have some social dances every week and do a fair amount of ballroom dancing, but I've never gone there. Elvia's and Dancing For Life are located on Fondren near Westheimer. The Melody Club, where many private or semi-private dance functions are held, is one street over behind Elvia's. And both Tropicana and Metropolis are located at the intersection of Fondren and Richmond. There are a couple of after hours Latino clubs within a few blocks, too, and a Vietnamese dance club and ... well, that's just a big dance district for West Houston.

And tonight we have the Inklings Roundtable of Houston's monthly dinner. Mary Dodson Wade, a C.S. Lewis biographer, will be the guest. If you're in Houston, drop by the Black Labrador on Montrose near Richmond around 7:00 PM. We're usually in the private dining room on the ground floor.


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