Review: ‘Five Dances’

The film has some wonderful, touching moments and lead Ryan Steele is very good in them

five_dances_posterRemember when you were young and you could spend 10/15 hours at a time working on something you loved? It was all-encompassing, all passion. It meant everything that you were the best or that what you were working on was the best you could do. Everything else fell by the wayside.

Those feelings of youth came rushing back to me as I watched Five Dances, Writer/Director Alan Brown‘s story of a young dancer trying to make it in New York City.

Brown, working choreographer Jonah Bokaer, cast five dancers for the lead roles and while you can tell they are a bit green on the acting front, it actually works well for the film, especially for Ryan Steele, who as Chip, has his first film role here.

Chip is just off the bus from Kansas. The place he was staying has just kicked him out and he’s secretly sleeping on the floor of the dance company he’s just joined. Through the next several weeks, Chip deals with the struggles of a young artist: competition, hours of hard work and the value of friendship.

That’s pretty much it in regards to plot but since I’m a sucker for movies about struggling artists, I didn’t need much of a plot. It’s more of story of finding your place in the world… of finding a family that accepts you for who you are and finding out where you truly belong.

The film has some wonderful, touching moments and Steele is very good in them. The silences Brown brings to some scenes are touching; we don’t need talking every single frame. Sometimes, people are just there… being; glancing; smiling; even glaring. These parts of the film are beautiful. But, there is a certain section of the film starts to slide into melodrama. It starts to focus on one of the peripheral characters that we’ve only briefly met. It totally comes out of the blue and doesn’t push the story forward or even add to anything that Chip is dealing with. It’s almost like they needed to fill the movie to get to the 80 minute mark. I wish Brown would have stuck with just Chip’s story the whole way because that’s where the beauty was.

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