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LA LA LAND – The Prelude of Times Gone By

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“A treasured memory is the lasting gift of time well spent” – Tim Fargo

Growing up and spending a great deal of time with my grandparents captured my imagination about what it must have been living in the Golden Age of post-war era. Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby became my childhood pals more than any other contemporary artist.

Looking back, it is easy to pinpoint from whom I have drawn all the inspiration that my grandfather inadvertently have sown: Gene Kelly and Fred Astaira. My passion for dance blossomed from their fabulous movies, brimming with colourful scenery, elegant dancers, and surreal, fantastical plots. My favourites to date? Top Hat (1935), Singing in the rain (1952), and The King and I (1944).

Last december, cinema theatres were graced with LA LA Land. Directed by the vibrant Damien Chazelle and choreographed by Mandy Moore, choreographer of the hit tv show Dancing with the stars. This beautiful movie, a tribute to the golden age of Hollywood Musical Films, has clear similarities with the Metro Golden Mayor classics, including Demy’s 1964 masterpiece The Umbrellas of Cherbourg to Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s 1952 Singing in the Rain, and, of course, with Minelli’s 1951 An American in Paris. For those unfamiliar with the genre, musical film is basically film where songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing.

At the academy awards, the film was nominated for a record-tying fourteen Oscars (along with 1997’sTitanic and 1950’s All About Eve), including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Gosling), Best Actress (Stone), and two Best Original Songs, “Audition” and “City of Stars”.

The film also won in every category it was nominated for at the 74th Golden Globe Awards, with a record-breaking seven wins.

So, it follows that this question is raised: Why is La La Land so massively appealing to contemporary society?

The answer lies behind the impromptu dance moves that the film is glazed with, they are not just irrelevant breaks in the plot, they are there to set the tone and give a channel for inner emotions to reach out and touch the audience. Indeed, the entire film’s locus is communication and how feelings are conveyed through the medium of dance.

As Alvin Ailey puts it “Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.”

Dance has long been considered a social manifestation predating history in the form of rituals. Since then it has evolved to express the culture of the times; however, in an age where technology has overwhelmed us with digital impressions, we seem to have forgotten how to interact and communicate outside the realm of the virtual world. La La Land is a reminder of this need to come together.

At Passion 4 Dance, it is this that I want to bring to the forefront. It is my belief that the true beauty of dance lies not in the steps and movements, but in the magic created between two people that takes over their rhythms and inhabits two moving bodies. My final word to you? Dance like no one is watching!

Happy Dancing!

Passion4dance is a dance club run by Jean–Claude Dimech, for further information contact him on info.passion4dance@gmail.com or call 79872605

Written by Jean-Claude Dimech, Director of School, Passion4Dance

 

Read next: Meet Rebecca Binnendyk, the Australian Jazz/Pop singer currently in Malta

 

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