Why Dancers Hate Dance Movies

Well I bet that title got your attention didn’t it? ;) Now before you get all ‘that’s not true, I LOVE dance movies and I’m a dancer!’ on me, let me put out the disclaimer that I know not all dancers hate dance movies, but the vast majority of fellow dancers and educators I’ve known and talked to are iffy at best about most dance movies, and underwhelmed is the adjective I’d use to describe most dancer’s reactions when a new dance movie comes out.

Personally I know that when I see a new commercial or ad for a dance movie, I internally cringe and roll my eyes at the same time. And then I thought ‘well that’s an odd reaction considering I am a dancer’, and got curious about why that’s always my reaction.

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So, like any legitimate investigator, I got on Instagram and Facebook to poll the other dance masses, and it turns out, most of you had the same reaction as I did. Most of you feel that the majority of dance movies are superficial, topical, and lack breadth. Personally, I feel like most dance movies end up bastardizing the art form and reducing it to a few very tired stereotypes. I’ve yet to see a dance movie that correctly captures the dance community, life, and art. To be fair, to do so would be a tall order, but isn’t that kind of the job description of film directors?

I think it’s safe to say that the dance community is tired of seeing dance on the silver screen as psycho Swans (you can read more about my opinion of Black Swan in this article), starving, poor artists, or backstabbing divas. And that’s not even mentioning using non dancers as actors or actresses in dance films. All of these elements combine to make me feel undervalued and misunderstood as a dancer, so it’s no surprise the buzz of a new dance film leaves me feeling meh and somewhat resentful.

Now on the flip side, the thing that got these thoughts flowing was seeing the newest trailer for Disney’s Nutcracker, which I was fully expecting to hate, but was actually pleasantly surprised to see looks somewhat fresh and fun. We’ll see how I feel after it hits the big screen, but hope springs eternal, and I hope Disney will get it right.

I’d love to hear from you! Are you a dance movie lover, or hater, and how do you feel about the new Nutcracker coming to theaters this fall? Leave me a comment and let me know!