Strictly Ballroom, A Color Extravaganza

This is one of my favorite movies despite it being a bit of a RomCom. It hits you right away with vibrant, over the top, colors. The costuming it a bit over the top. But competitive dance costumes are. This just pushes it a little bit farther. Personalities are also a bit over the top, extreme, and unrealistic. Yet the actors pull it off as if there was nothing exaggerated about them at all. The fact that the female dancers all seem to be wearing performance night make-up as everyday makeup points at the deliberateness of this.

Young Scott Hastings wants to dance his own steps. The President of the Australian Dancing Federating wants to keep the entirety of the ballroom dance world under his thumb. At least on the National level. In reference to new steps he says, “If you don’t know them, you can’t teach them.” If he controls how people are teaching, he keeps control to himself and out of the hands of people who do stuff he himself can’t do.

This movie is a two-pronged coming of age story. Scott’s path is learning to be true to himself. His rebelliousness came from not knowing exactly who that was and fighting against the authority figures who were trying to mold him the way they wanted him. He starts to find himself when he walks home and is challenged by Fran’s father to show him his Pasodoble. Fran’s grandmother is the one to point the way when she shows him that he needs to feel the beat with his heart and not in his feet. The unexplained message here is that life, like dancing, must be felt in the heart,

Fran’s story is an ugly duckling story. The plain or homely girl that grows more attractive as she learns self-confidence. From the very beginning, she seems to have a good grasp on who she is but she seems to have no confidence in her nor does she seem to recognize her own value.

Throughout the movie, Scott repeatedly says he doesn’t care about winning the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix. He just wants to be able to dance his way. So the movie ends with them dancing their way and we never find out who wins.

That "Let me show you how it is really done" moment.

While Paul Mercurio, who played Scott Hastings, is a very attractive young man, I would argue that the hottest man in this movie is actually Antonio Vargas who played Rico, Fran’s Spanish/Gypsy father. He was also a contributing choreographer to the movie and brought with him his expertise and experience Latin Dance as he is an internationally renown flamenco artist.

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