Sunday, January 03, 2010

Singular Sensation

My best friend in the fifth grade, Kelley, had parents who were vastly different than mine. At the tender age of 11, Kelley's mom took us to see the movie A Chorus Line, starring Michael Douglas, dancers, moving songs about crappy childhoods and being gay and catchy songs about 'tits and ass.'

I freakin' loved it.

I also loved Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo about the same time. What can I say. I liked movies about dancing.

This weekend I was flipping through the On Demand movies (look out for this party, y'all!) and stopped at Every Little Step, a documentary about the revival of A Chorus Line on Broadway.

Wow. Freaking outstanding. I was gripped.

The movie follows the dancers who audition for the 2006 revival against the backdrop of how choreographer Michael Bennett came up with the idea of the stage-show in the first place.

How's this for novelty: In 1974 he put 22 dancers in a room with a jug of wine and interviewed them about their lives, his premise being, 'We dancers are a different and interesting breed, tell me your story.' Those characters I first met in the movie at age 11, actual people. How do you like that.

That's one of the best things I learned about being a reporter. If you ask people about their lives, more often than not, they will tell you. And what touching and entertaining stories they can be.

Rather than the stories Bennett uncovered from dancers in the '70s, Every Little Step follows a new bunch of hopefuls about what A Chorus Line, dancing and work means to them. But more than that, it's a documentary about the spirit it takes to be a performer in the face of near constant rejection.

One dancer, in describing her laser beam focus on dance and the pursuit of her dream, says, 'I feel like if you have something to fall back on, you'll fall back.'


I found myself caring about each of these kids auditioning from the minute go, and as the director and his assistants wiped tears from their eyes during one especially poignant audition, I wiped them from mine. (Good news folks, it appears I am human!)

It's mercilessly intense, ruthless, exhilarating and hopeful. How can you not be impressed at what artists do to pursue their craft.

I sat on my couch wondering why I hadn't packed up 18, moved to New York and joined a dancer's union for this tough as nails life. Oh wait, I remember, I'm not cut from that mettle. But bravo to those who are.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to dance around my living room.

1 comment:

Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch A Chorus Line,i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.