The White Crow: what is the purpose?

A week after the release in Italian cinema, The White Crow won the podium in the standings at the box office, although preceded by Arrivederci Professore in second place and Toy Story 4 in the first.

Ralph Fiennes’ film about the life of the Soviet dancer, begins on a running train, the one on which Rudolf Nureyev came into the world and goes on to tell the protagonist’s childhood and youth, through a stream of consciousness made up of temporal ellipses, without interruption or particular stylistic underlining, except in the parts that portray Nureyev as a child, in which the choice falls on black and white.

Focused on one of the crucial moments of his career and his life, the film tells the story of Nureyev’s first trip out of the Soviet Union, when he sets foot at the Paris Opera together with the other dancers of the Leningrad ballet and demonstrates who he is , determined to make a real revolution in the world of ballet, rendering justice to the figure of the male, subordinate until then, to that of his female partner. Beyond the biographical story more or less known to enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts, there are two points, as far as I am concerned:

– the first to know, to know, to see, in the part relating to the Parisian    context, in which Nureyev takes every opportunity to experience           the symbolic places of culture and art that the city offers;

– The second is the dialogue with the teacher and mentor Alexander Pushkin (played by Ralph Fiennes himself), in which the latter asks him what the ultimate goal of the dance is.

In the first I could not help but reflect on the young Nureyev’s foresight, on his ability to emerge, to go beyond, to have guessed how much the other arts, all the arts, from painting, to architecture, to literature, were indispensable to dance, as the relationship, the contamination of the same, would have been able to revitalize them over time, to add value to each language taken individually.

In the second, my thoughts turn around the meaning. What is the meaning of dance? Why does a dancer dance? To show a perfect technique? To entertain the public? None of the two. None of the endless answers certainly right, but accessory, compared to the true motivation that is valid for dance, painting, photography, poetry, etc. etc; none really important if at the base of everything, there is not a story, a point of view to express, a need to tell about one’s own personal tale.

The story, the urgency to say something, is equivalent to identity and not only when it comes to art or culture. The story is the differential, it is the project, it is the element of distinction between one subject and another, it is the substance. The story is one in which men and women identify themselves or not, the one for which remember. This happened to Nureyev and to many who, like him, managed to leave a footprint in the memory of humanity.

Anyway, we all have a story, so let’s ask ourselves: what is our language? How can we tell it better and make a difference in what we do?

 

 

 

 

 

I. D. A International Dance Award: interview to Rossella Damone

On 6 and 7 April 2019, the city of San Severo in Puglia and the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, are preparing to welcome a great event dedicated to dance and to all lovers of this wonderful art form.  But let’s get to know the founder of this initiative better. Following the interview with Rossella Damone

Before revealing the details of this wonderful project, I’d like to talk a little about you and your passion for dance. You yourself have studied dance for many years and you have been a professional dancer, but tell us how the meeting with this discipline happened…  

The meeting with the dance I owe it to my mom. She was the one who, loving the ballet, took me to a school that was exactly in front of my house. Maybe a sign of destiny. It was love at first sight, the same I felt when, for the first time, I entered a theatre, our beautiful theatre. The red color and softness of the velvet of the armchairs, that huge chandelier that appeared to me mysterious and the stage with those large wooden boards that glisted under the effect of the lights. It was all so fascinating and magical that, already so small I was kidnapped… forever… And then I had the good fortune to meet a teacher who sent me for this sublime art an infinite passion. The dance encompasses everything: there is the music, there are the scenographies and the costumes, there is the inspiration of the choreographer, the interpretative and athletic ability of the dancer… and his heart. What more would you want? The love of Dance is for me a great companion of life. Those who know me know well.

But now tell us about this project: how long have you started thinking about it? What does IDA mean to you? What is your goal on this initiative?

The idea took shape last summer. My biggest wish is to return, at least in small part, to this theater the immense joy that it gave to me in the 30 years in which I danced. In These years has been done a lot to give light to the Teatro Verdi and I wanted to give my contribution. I began to hope that the first-magnitude stars in the international dance scene could discover on our stage the potential talents and, at the same time, that our children were not forced to face long journeys to have the opportunity to be noticed or simply to be able to bring these excellencies of the world of choreutics, just as it had happened to me as a little girl. I wanted to make it easier to live an experience so wonderful, motivating and exciting, the same that I wanted to live as a pupil in my city. Our beautiful theatre deserves a great competition and the names involved in this initiative are truly of absolute excellence. The presence of professionals of this level goes beyond my expectations. My admiration for them is immense and I will never thank them enough for adhering to my request. It is for me a dream that is realized together with that of many young promises.

The competition will be involved in several dance schools. What is the average age of the participants? What do you expect emerges from comparing competitors?

There are two categories: Juniors 12/17 years and seniors 18/25 years. I expect a healthy competition, but above all to realize for 2 days a great dance festival from which a beautiful positive energy emanating from dreams, ambitions and hopes of many young dancers and ballet dancers, coming from different contexts and experiences but in tune with each other, because united by a single great passion for art, that gathers and nourishes the souls.

What do you think about the condition of dance in Italy today? What would you like to improve and how?

Given that you can always do better, I think the dance unfortunately, despite being in many those who love it, has less space and less tools that help to express themselves in theaters and television in the way it deserves. I hope that things will change thanks to targeted interventions and that we act increasingly in the sign of quality and professionalism because only where there is quality and professionalism, there is art and beauty.

The “liquid” meaning of Purple rain

«When there’s blood in the sky, red and blue goes to purple… Purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god guide you through the purple rain».

Prince used this words to describe the Purple Rain,  few words,  not enough to uniquely define the meaning of the expression Purple Rain. The story is roughly the same: in 1983, Prince returns to his home in Minneapolis after touring the album 1999 and prepares to make his first concert at club first Avenue. Meanwhile his retinue had risen and in his head he had begun to think of a screenplay about his life/career, within which to introduce the songs of his new album, among which was the song that would then give the title to the film. Purple Rain released on June 25, 1984 for Warner Bros. Records, and is the first job for which Prince makes use of a studio band, Prince and the Revolution, whose name will be retained in the film version. Prince plays the role of his alter ego Kid, an egocentric and controversial character, with great potential, but unable to work synchronously with other musicians. He constantly discusses with the girls in his band, as well as with rival bands, while private life is no better. Parents often argue and the father, in anger and frustration at having failed as a musician and as a husband, beats his mother. In All this he meets Apollonia, aspiring singer and between the two is born a reciprocal attraction. In the couple’s relationship, the Kid discovers a part of himself that makes him similar to his father and that causes Apollonia to move away and accept the offer to sing for the rival band.

The notes of Purple rain overlook timidly during the various scenes, in the form of a cassette tape that Kid/prince tries several times to listen, then interrupted. He is a song written by the girls de The Revolution for him, but that until the end refuses to sing. Everything is going to wreck, career, sentimental and family life that ends in tragedy, with a gunshot left at the height of yet another quarrel, and that reduces the father in the end of life.

Being in front of the misfortune, reveals himself as a shock in the head of Kid, puts in front of him an aberrant scene in which he sees materialize his greatest fear: to make the same end of the parents. Face to face with the worst nightmares, after having vented the anger and put the cellar down, finds the sheet music of his father and in a state of discovered lucidity, realizes that it is still in time to reverse the course.    He sits on the piano and puts back on the cassette tape; Purple Rain finally takes life in full desolation, like a light in the deepest darkness, like a flower in the midst of the most arid rocks. For the Kid is the last chance to save his career, he knows that he can disappear or be reborn and there are no middle streets allowed. Purple rain is ready, and so are the other members of The Revolution and the First Avenue audience. Before beginning, the Kid declares he wants to dedicate that piece to his father and decides to do justice to the girls of the band, marking the role of author. The music starts and the audience is mesmerized by a shower of emotions. The sequel we know, an overwhelming and legendary success, transformed into reality, in an Oscar won for the best Original soundtrack and millions of copies sold in the United States and the rest of the world.

However, what is this purple rain, no one has certainty and everyone keeps asking it from that far 1984. Reading and researching in my turn an answer, I found many and disparate, all plausible, but no certain and incontrovertible. What could really mean to Prince, I think we will never know, but the point is the emotion that inspires in each of us listening to Purple rain. The Purple Rain can take a thousand forms and embody as many moods; It can represent the tears after a disappointment, after a fatigue and the last legs for the barrel received; It can become the freedom to close your eyes and let go, letting your emotions flow, intimate, pure, uncontainable like the rain that falls and flows in rivulets on the ground; It may be the story of a beautiful love story or a manifest of excuses, if you dwell on what the text suggests, but anyway, the beauty of Purple rain, resides in the liquid consistency of its interpretation, which, like the liquid, naturally assumes the features of its container. Those containers are us, each unique, each different.

Below the links for more insights

https://biografieonline.it/biografia-prince

www.rollingstone.it/musica/news-musica/purple-rain-la-rivoluzione-di-prince/371229/#Part11

 

 

 

From the outskirts of Brooklyn to New York, Tony Manero before and after

“The only way to survive, is to do what you think is right, not what others try to convince you to do. If you allow him to do it, it ends up becoming an unhappy one. “With this maxim, Frank disleaves his younger brother Tony Manero.

Tony is a boy growing up on the outskirts of Brooklyn, attends a company of scapestrates and brawler, but he has a potential compared to his friends and it is not only the natural ability to seize the dance floor, but the desire to be a better person. Saturday Night Fever, represents an era, repaints the years ’70 through the music, but also the excesses, the conflicts of a multiethnicity that is poorly enduring and a tale of sexuality, deprived of any romance. In this context, Tony Manero embodies the desire for ransom and the refusal to settle. In the first chapter of the story, is still too immature, warns that the dance is the only thing that will charge him and takes him away from a family situation in which he does not feel valued and that heavily affecting his self-esteem, but is not able to visualize clear goals.

Tony is considered a leader by his pseudofriends and the girls do everything to attract their attention, but he is infatued with Stephanie Mangano (Karen Lynn Gorney) , with whom he will have to settle for a couple in the dance contest, without achieving anything more. Despite the myth created around the character of Tony Manero, especially thanks to John Travolta’s interpretation, we face a young man neither skills no talents, but endowed with two extremely significant qualities: goodwill and intellectual honesty. The first one, for example, is evident in the efforts made within the paint shop in which he works, however, the only idea of growing old in there, terris him.  The second, after the dance competition in the Disco, in which it is the only one not to rejoice of the victory obtained.                                                                                                                  The final clash, in fact, takes place against a pair of Puerto Ricans of which Manero recognizes the superiority, giving him outraged the prize of the winner. No one understands his gesture, not even Stephanie, and Tony feels a fish out of water, which of the phony and gratuitous admiration, does not know what to do with it. The death of one of his friends, fell off the bridge in Brooklyn because of a stunt, is the drop that makes the vase overflow, and pushes the protagonist, now saturated, to move away from everything and everyone. The same evening of the tragedy, he reaches Stephanie in her Manhattan apartment, and the film ends with a handshake and a hug between the two, after Tony tells her to move into the Big Apple and start from scratchWhat will our hero do?

We will know 6 years later, in 1983, when Sylvester Stallone decides to write, direct and produce the sequel Staying Alive, personally caring for the athletic training of John Travolta. Saturday Night Fever, is not a musical comedy like many others, in which a sense of evasion and optimism prevail, but it is much closer to the drama, treating the vicissitudes of the protagonists with sometimes dystopian realism. In the second chapter we find a more mature Tony, both physically and intellectually, much more aware of his qualities, determined to become a professional dancer. He has a story with his friend Jackie (Cynthia Rhoders) , while he sees with others and is impressed by the first ballerina Laura (Finola Hughes), capricious and arrivist, but, in the end, Tony is focused on his career and is detached, at times cynical and opportunistic in spite of himself.

In conclusion, he wins and redeems himself, he gets the first dancer on a Broadway show, conquering the choreographer, more than for the artistic talents, for the energy he transmits with dance and thanks to which he arrives to emerge compared to those who are technically more prepared, but remaining a cold performer.                                                                                Both films, leave a sense of incompleteness, given the fact that they do not really put a point to the story, but have the merit of having narrated a socio-cultural insight, capturing the salient traits and, giving soul to a controversial character, with his a thousand faults and inner conflicts, but able to change the less happy aspects of his existence, through the force of determination.                                                                                                                The myth of Tony, is the myth of the common man in the balance between reality and expectations, whose drama intensifies with the increase of the gap between the two poles. He is the myth of the one who is hungry, who desires perpetually something more, and in fact we will not know how long the euphoria and the sense of fulfillment for having crossed the finish line are going to last.                                                          The myth of Tony Manero, is the portrait of a topic, of an undeniable and unhealable condition of human nature, in any age or social, family and cultural context, more or less privileged. Is this to make it timeless?

Singing in the Rain: cinema talks about cinema

It’s dark, it rains and all run to shelter, but he dances and sings in the rain, plays and smiles happy. The reason? Simple, he’s in love. This scene represents the quintessential description of a mood of bliss and although it goes back to decades ago, it preserves its essence intact. Singing in the Rain is a beautiful love story, born from a chance encounter as unlikely, between the silent film star Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and the aspiring actress Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) and raised in Hollywood Studios. The protagonist, however, is not the sentimental story, but the cinema that tells itself and its background in a crucial moment of its history, that is the transition from mute to sound, after the success of The Jazz singer Alan Crosland.

He tells how many, considered to be great actors in a cinema made up of expressions, gestures, captions and atmospheric music still played live, with the advent of sound, do not reveal themselves to the height. With intelligence and irony, Singing in the Rain reveals that cinema is nothing more than a trick and it is also the imaginary that is created around its protagonists. Nevertheless, it does not affect, even for a moment, the aura of this wonderful dream machine, within which everything is possible. In my opinion, the exemplary scenes in this sense are at least three: the opening, the preview of the first sound film, and the final scene in which the public humiliation of the star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) and the consecration of her voice actor Kathy Selden, real girlfriend of the main actor.

Meanwhile the film opens with the crowd cheering the couple Lockwood-Lamont, out of the cinema where the projection of their last effort will be held. Once arrived, the journalist insistently a story between the two, which vague, suggest the probability of a sentimental bond, conscious of the system and what the public wants, or needs to believe. But the reality is completely different. Among the actors there’s no love lost, or rather, he does not bear her, personification of the unwell star and devoid of any talent. The scene continues with Lockwood, who is again pressed by the chronicler, recounts his beginnings and the path that led him to success, and while the words narrate the official version, sweetened and noble, the images show a musician become an actor by chance, doing the stunt.

The second scene, the preview of the sound film, represents the destruction of the myth, the difficulty of using the new technology, resulting in a failed synchronisation of images and sound. Moreover, that same theatrical gestuality and of emphasis, that only a short time was perceived as natural, suddenly becomes grotesque and out of place.

The last scene still takes place inside a cinema, on the occasion of the projection of the same film transformed into a musical comedy, which on the contrary sends the public in raping, preserving the credibility of the protagonists, at least that of Don Lockwood. In fact, in the final, Lina Lamov is exposed and the audience who had never heard her strident and annoying voice, discovers how things really are. At the end of the screening, the spectators ask her to sing, and so instead of covering her as they had done until then, colleagues and producer, take the opportunity to get rid of her. They order the voice actor Kathy Selden to put herself behind the scenes and perform the song, while the Lamov would pretend to sing, but at the height of the performance, they drop the curtain, showing everyone the truth and doing justice to the talent of young interpreter.

These scenes, like all those in which the cinema chooses the road of the metalinguage, using its own grammar to tell itself, are bound by a red thread that is the essence of the performance: it is fiction, but the reaction that it elicits, it is absolutely authentic and real. This is how Singing in the Rain makes reference to the cinema, but above all to the spectator’s condition towards the medium. It shows us that people cry, laugh and dream, identifying themselves in the absolutely fictitious events, of characters equally fictitious, but that give life to real emotions, tangible and intense. So it has always been, so it is, and until all of us continue to believe it, the magic of performance will not fade, in spite of any trick or technological novelty.

Flashdance: the fire inside and the fear of failure

The final scene of Flashdance is engraved of the imaginary of entire generations, starting from April 15, 1983, year of release of the film. Besides, how not to be conquered by music, choreographies, the transgressive rock background, seasoned by a romantic romance between the worker and her boss… in short, there is everything you need to create a myth.

Flashdance after more than thirty years continues to live and invigorations in different theatrical performances, and right from Milan, prepares for the tournèe. This Sunday I was at the Teatro della Luna to see the show, and I can testify that the seats were almost all occupied by people of all ages. The atmosphere was relaxed, like when you are in front of a comfortable family situation, from which you know what to expect and you are happy to repeat the experience. The final as predictable, it was the most engaging moment and the sound of What a feeling all unleashed, the fourth wall of the stage collapsed, while public and cast became part of a single big party. Beyond adaptation and musical additions, I had the pleasure of finding what I think is the fulcrum of history and a protagonist in which it is easy to identify.

Flashdance takes the dance as center of the plot, and tells of a young woman determined and idealistic, who always dreams to enter the academy and become a great dancer. The talent has it, but she has not studied and is, or at least feels, profoundly different from the girls of the prestigious school. She would like to present the application, but she does not feel at the height and even when she is admitted to the audition, albeit with a little help, not required, by his fiancé, threatens to send in smoke his opportunity. The excuse is to want to do it alone, but in reality it is the fear of failure to block it. By making a small abstraction, the story of Alex in Flashdance, is that of an ordinary person, with a fire inside, who needs an opportunity to prove what is worth, but does not believe it enough. The fear in the face of the possibility to see your chance fade, threatens to frustrate the opportunity herself, without even trying. So what does Flashdance leave us? Meanwhile, I can tell you what he left me. First of all, when you have the good fortune to feel inside a fire, a direction, it is already an opportunity not to be missed; that courage sometimes pays and others do not, but it is part of the game and it is always better to face the disappointment and get up, instead of rethinking how it would go if…; that there is a time in life, in which to remedy the failures is easier than in others, even if one never ceases to grow and to learn; that being able to give the best and cross the finish line, is priceless, but it costs fatigue, and it is the same fatigue to make great satisfaction. What did you leave? Write it in the comments! As always I wish you a good reading and I will meet you next week.

(Italiano) Le leggende del musical hollywoodiano parte II. Dedicato a Gene Kelly

Dazzling smile and cunning eye, in 1937 moves the first steps in the Big Apple, but the encounter between Gene Kelly and dance, happens many years earlier. Yes, because in Pittsburgh, his home town, Kelly starts taking classes at only 7 years, at the behest of her mother. It’s not love at first glance, as you might think. In fact, teased by his peers, abandons the dance and then resume a few years later, when he realizes that the girls were attracted by the boys able to dance and that the dance was a good vehicle to woo them. As they say, Gene Kelly saw us along. Not by chance is remembered as one of the most eclectic personalities in Hollywood, as the one who revolutionized the dance on the screen and especially the way to look at this discipline. It is known, the dance was considered and it is in some respects still today, as best suited to the feminine gender, but Gene Kelly with his athletic and energetic style, has cleared many clichés, becoming a source of inspiration for later generations. Even Michael Jackson held him as a model, as reported in an article of the Republic of 1996, following the disappearance of Kelly, and in which personalities of the show and not only, have spent words of gratitude and affection towards him.

Of course we all associate his name with two masterpieces of the musical comedy, Singing in the rain and An American in Paris but there are many, several other interesting works of which Gene Kelly has been the protagonist. Before I report a few, I think it is necessary to make some considerations to better frame the level of professionalism that you are talking about. First Gene Kelly was not only a very good dancer, but a creative all round, that during his experience in Hollywood, he learned about the specifics of the cinematic medium, what you could get through the filming, editing and the small, yet rudimental, special effects. Understanding the potential of the medium, was his fortune and the principle of his revolution. In most cases, he was the author of the choreographies himself and he loved experimenting with the possibilities that the cinema was able to offer him. Examples are two sequences in two different films: “L’alterego Dance” in the film Cover Girl (1944) and “Jerry Mouse and Jene Kelly Dance”, in Anchors Aweigh (1945).

In the first case, Kelly dances with himself reflected in a glass and, in the second, with a cartoon mouse to which he tries to teach tap-dance steps. In Each of these numbers emerges an extreme confidence with the objects or entities surrounding, with which Kelly establishes a real dialogue, and the choreography becomes a story always different, where to mutate are subjects, objects, situations and feelings, but never the naturalness with which they are narrated. The expression of the face is always impeccable, does not betray the fatigue and every movement seems extremely simple. Obviously that result comes from interminable tests, fatigue and practice of perfectionism. Many colleagues remember him as one of the most authoritative filmmakers on the set. He demanded the utmost from himself and his collaborators and this, perhaps, allowed him to perform small miracles during his career, transforming the beginners of the dance, in dancers perfectly to the height of the role. This is the case with Frank Sinatra, co-starring in Anchors Aweigh, and Debby Reynolds in Singing in the Rain. Looking at the number paired with Frank Sinatra, I hardly noticed the difference, and I admit I felt some surprise. In truth, Gene Kelly taught at his mother’s dance school in Pittsburgh before leaving for New York and certainly knew the trade, but transferring a skill to someone else, is not always simple and the result is not discounted.

Before saying goodbye, I want to suggest a less well-known project, but in my opinion extremely interesting, of which Gene Kelly was the author and protagonist. This is Invitation to dance 1956, produced by MGM. The film is divided into three chapters without dialogue, where the story is entrusted exclusively to choreographies. Kelly signed some dancers of the most important European dance companies of the time, with the intent of making the dance known and valued as an art form. He wanted to give them maximum visibility and take part in only one of the episodes, but MGM forced him to participate in all three chapters. The production house was not convinced of the marketability of the film and did not make life easy neither to him nor to the other dancers who did not feel free to fully express their creativity. The film was a box-office flop, but won the Golden Bears for Best film at the sixth edition of the Berlin International film Festival in ‘ 56.

Exhausting in a single article The contribution that Gene Kelly has left in the film musical and the collective imagination, is practically impossible, but I hope to have been able to give you some ideas and have aroused at least a little ‘ your Curiosity. For those wishing to deepen, I suggest you to consult the Encyclopedia of World biography and the article of the Republic of which you find the link in the first lines. As anticipated at the beginning, in addition to the films already mentioned, you mark Me and my Gal (1942), with Giudy Garland, Brigadoon (1954), along with Cyd Charisse to whom I dedicated an article last week, and Black Hand (1950), one of the very few dramatic roles played by Gene Kelly, again for MGM. If you liked this article, or want to give me suggestions for the next, leave a comment at the end. Since I took taste, I greet you with a couple of videos and I wish everyone good continuation.

Musical in hollywood and his legends. Devoted to Cyd Charisse

” When you have danced with her, you can really say to have danced”

These the reserved words for from Fred Astaire to an icon of the gold years of the musical in Hollywood, Cyd Charisse. To the century Tula Ellice Finklea, is born in Texas to Amarillo, the 8 March of the 1921. for every year ’50 up to the crisis of the musical, have been more protagonist of some among the you hail films of the kind, definitely detaching the flight, with her role of fatal femme in Singing in the 1952 Rain, directed from Stanley Donen and from the same Gene Kelly. But we make back a footstep.

Tula was a rather sickly child and, after having been she cuts from poliomelite, she began to make dance to strengthen her muscles. From that it could appear as a banal necessity, it discovered her a great talent and, to alone 13 years, she entered to belong to the Russian ballet of Mountain Charles. Since she has been child, the Saturday afternoon went to the cinema with her family and looked admired the numbers of tap dance with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and surely she didn’t imagine that one day would also have been her partner of Fred Astaire. Beh, that day arrived. It was 1946 and Cyd, landed in California after the experience in the company of the Russian ballet and the brief marriage with her teacher of dance Nico Charisse, it got a marginal role – to the point not to even be mentioned in the credits -In Ziegfield Folies, by Vincente Minnelli, right next to Fred Astaire. In one of her interviews, carried out many years later, she describes the first meeting with Fred Astaire:

“When I saw Mr. Astaire arrive, with his superb vest, the waist belt, which he walked, as if only he could, I set aside intimidated, but he began to turn around me and kept observing me. In the end I understood that he was wondering if I was too big to dance with him, so I made a small pliè and I stayed so until he came out”.

After about half an hour, Arthur Fred phoned  to tell her that she got the role, and so began the wonderful adventure with MGM. From this moment the success of Cyd Charisse is in continuous ascent and as mentioned at the beginning, it consolidates with its participation in Singing in the rain, in which she is called to do what best succeeds, or to dance. Although not the female protagonist in strictly speaking terms, her talent and her physicality do not go unnoticed. To become legend, are her legs, insured in 1952, for well 5 million dollars. In 1953, she played a starring role in the music film The Band Wagon, where she plays the ballet dancer Gabrielle Gerard, who is cast as Tony’s girlfriend (Fred Astaire), for the theatrical show destined to revive the career now in decline of the latter. Initially the relationships are not good, the personal diversities are configured as the mirroring of two styles of dance between them strangers, but it all resolves in a walk to the Central Park of New York, where one of the most memorable dance numbers of the couple takes place , the step to two Dancing in the dark. 

The 1954 is instead the vault of Brigadoon, the name of a Scottish village that for a kind of miracle, appears once every hundred years, for a single day, then hide again in the fog with its inhabitants. Film with a romantic and exotic character, where the romance between Tony and Viola, precisely Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, transcends the boundaries of the real, in the name of a feeling capable of overcoming any obstacle. Both works are signed Vincente Minnelli. Cyd Charisse lives a decade of gold, in which she works tirelessly and many others are the musicals she takes part in. With the crisis like this, she progressively moves away from the spotlight, concluding his career by collecting  56 films. On November 9, 2006, she received from the then President of the United States of America George W. Bush, the National Medal of the Arts and Humanities, considered the most important American award in the artistic field.

Cyd Charisse,  who disappeared in 2008 to 87 years, is remembered as an example of professionalism and absolute talent in her discipline. The talent in dance, the precision and the cleanliness of movement accompanying his executions, have certainly compensated for the shortcomings in singing and acting. She was a perfect partner for her companions, adapting with grace and naturalness to the dance of each of them, even when the styles were completely different. This is the case of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, the first more sophisticated, graceful and slender, the second most muscular and energetic. Both absolute geniuses, but as Cyd Charisse stated, so different from making any kind of comparison between the two impossible. I want to greet you with two of the most representative videos: Dancing in the dark and Broadway Melody, from The Band Wagon and Singing in the rain, respectively. Good vision and the next success story!

Footloose: storia di uno scontro generazionale

Sicuramente molti di voi conoscono già la storia. No, non mi riferisco alla trama, bensì alla storia vera di un ragazzo della minuscola cittadina di Elmore City nel Sud dell’Oklaoma, che nel 1980 dispose una campagna per ottenere il permesso dalle autorità di organizzare il ballo di fine anno. Lo scopo era mettere fine ad una severa quanto obsoleta legge in vigore dal 1898, che vietava il ballo nei luoghi pubblici e alla fine ci riuscì. In Footloose il divieto è più recente e il pretesto è la morte di due ragazzi in un incidente stradale dopo una serata di eccessi. Uno dei due era il figlio del reverendo. Il protagonista Ren McCormack, interpretato da un giovanissimo Kevin Bacon, da Boston si trova catapultato in questa piccola realtà, dove la musica rock, il ballo e persino alcuni libri ritenuti moralmente compromettenti, sono vietati. Il suo antagonista, il reverendo Shaw Moore, si  batte con fervore per portare la sua gente dritta in paradiso e volendo anche più in alto, come gli fa notare ad un certo punto persino sua moglie. La morale religiosa ottiene pieno consenso dagli adulti della comunità e assoluto dissenso da parte dei loro figli. Ad opporsi con decisione e sprezzo delle regole, è soprattutto Ariel Moore, figlia del reverendo, simbolo di una ribellione fatta di rabbia, di rifiuto e voglia di evadere da quel provincialismo soffocante. A mio avviso è uno dei personaggi più interessanti del film, proprio per la dicotomia tra ciò che appare e ciò che si nasconde dietro la maschera. Mi spiego. Ariel è decisa, sicura della sua fisicità, provocatrice e consapevole del consenso che suscita tra i suoi pari, sia tra i ragazzi che tra le ragazze, ma al di là dell’ostentazione, si nasconde il travaglio di un’adolescente che affronta come può, la perdita di un proprio caro. Ariel più di tutti, mette in discussione i precetti sostenuti dalla figura paterna, che passa dall’essere eroe, all’incarnazione dell’antieroe. Lo sguardo di Ariel è cambiato, non è più quello assorto di una bambina che ama incondizionatamente il proprio padre, ma quello critico di una giovane donna che inizia a costruirsi un personale punto di vista sul mondo.  Dunque, come potremmo definire Footloose? Senza dubbio un film sulla danza, un omaggio alla musica rock degli anni Ottanta, la fortuna di future icone del cinema e della musica, da Kevin Bacon, a Sarah Jessica Parker, a Kenny Loggins autore della colonna sonora e ciascuna di queste affermazioni è quanto meno evidente. Ma cosa racconta davvero Footloose se non lo scontro topico tra due generazioni? Ci sono degli adulti che dettano le regole nel tentativo di proteggere il più a lungo possibile i propri figli e degli adolescenti che lottano contro le medesime, in cerca delle proprie. La musica rock e il ballo si configurano come metafora di quell’energia e  voglia di vivere col piede sull’acceleratore e sentire il vento sulla faccia dimenticandosi le afflizioni e lasciandosi andare alla spensieratezza. La scena finale della festa sulle note di Footloose è l’emblema di quest’energia e, a distanza di trentaquattro anni, sfido chiunque a stare fermo riascoltando questo brano. Il finale, nello stile happy end USA, mette tutti d’accordo: Ren riesce ad organizzare il ballo di fine anno e ad andarci con Ariel che nel frattempo è diventata la sua ragazza, il reverendo si riconcilia con sua figlia dopo una serie di litigi e incomprensioni, e finalmente anche gli adulti si arrendono al fatto che le regole per quanto necessarie, non sono assolute e devono lasciare il posto alla fiducia, oltre a constatare che un po’ di sano divertimento non ha mai fatto male a nessuno. Una storia come tante quella di Footloose, destinata a lasciare un’impronta indelebile per le generazioni a venire, tanto da essere riproposta in un remake cinematografico nel 2011 e più volte a teatro, anche in Italia qualche anno fa, dalla Stage Entertainement al Teatro Nazionale di Milano. Vuoi per la musica, vuoi per le coreografie, per i personaggi in cui è facile identificarsi e per alcune scene come quella finale o quella del  monologo di Ren in Chiesa, Footloose resta un evergreen tra i musical anni Ottanta e non solo.

 A proposito di scene senza tempo, vi lascio proprio con le parole del protagonista, e chissà che a qualcuno non venga voglia di fare un tuffo nel passato e riguardare il film…

C’è un tempo per ogni cosa sotto il cielo… un tempo per ridere, un tempo per piangere, un tempo per soffrire e c’è un tempo per danzare. C’era un tempo per quella legge, ma ora non c’è più. Questo è il nostro tempo per danzare. Questo è il nostro tempo per festeggiare la vita. così è stato dal principio, così è stato sempre e così deve essere adesso”. E allora… LET’S DANCE!