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Dance film mocks stereotypes

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By Kelly Dolejsi

“Strictly Ballroom” (1992, rated PG) sparkles, struts and shrieks a warpath through the genre of dance competition dramas Thursday at Mesa Public Library.
Writer and director Baz Luhrmann, known also for “The Great Gatsby” and “Moulin Rouge,” brings out all ballroom dancing’s garish best: the thick, horrifying make-up; the gaudy costumes; the tasteless trophy-seeking ambitions.
There is very little joy of dancing for most of the competitors or judges in this film. But amid all the soap-operatic scheming and double-crossing, saunter Scott Hastings (Paul Mercurio) and Fran (Tara Morice). They love the steps, the rhythm, the freedom — a freedom that is threatened by ballroom bureaucrats who condemn any novelty on the dance floor.
Sound corny? It is all very corny. The movie lovingly mocks every dance-movie stereotype, from the quintessential dance rebel to the partner who truly believes in him or her. There is nothing new here, but it’s all so fluffy and funny that I didn’t mind at all. And the dancing is pretty good to boot.


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