Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dancin' It's On...I had a great time

Whitney Carson makes a promising debut in Dancin' It's On. A young person's film made by 79 year-old actor, dancer and director David Winters (The Last Horror Film, West Side Story). Winters' film has a great deal going for it.

I must confess a fondness for what I call kitchen sink movies: movies where a bunch of themes, tones and types of character are thrown against the wall to see what sticks. Juraj Jakubisko and even Godard do this on a lot. Dancin is not at the level of the best from those to masters, but it's very good. This film has a kickboxer father who runs a luxury hotel that hires circus performers, a mime, dancing golfers, death and Shakespeare.

Not all of the themes work. The Winters character's secret is not handled well. The Romeo and Juliet comparisons are a stretch, and the two side characters display more growth and likeability than the two leads. But the themes that do work work very well.

For a film that follows a tradition of young rich girl falling for poor boy romances, Dancin displays a great deal of imagination. There are moments that are just as joyous as the musicals of old. What is wrong with breaking into song and dance once in a while? 

The film also has something that most films lack, sincerity. I think it helps that the people that were hired to act in this film are dancers taken from competition shows. The film is about training for a competition and these performers add a certain depth that an actor who just learned to dance might not have. Sure, not everyone in here shines, but no one feels inauthentic.  Even the father, a rich former kickboxer, was an actual kickboxer. They hired the right people to display a love of dance that Winters obviously has. The character Winters wrote for himself is the weakest in the film, but one could also see this project as an old dancer's attempt to show he still has some moves left, and that is quite touching.

My fiancee and I had the theater to ourselves, a sad situation for the film, but we had a great time, liked every montage and marveled at Jordan Clark who has big things ahead of her.

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