Tuesday 29 December 2009


My daughter dances, the local cinema was showing a film called La Dance – so we went.

The film is a sort of fly on the wall self-congratulatory celebration of the Paris Opera house and the ballet school housed therein.

On a Sunday afternoon at five o’clock we swapped some euros for some pink tickets, gave them to the man on the door and entered the auditorium.

We were surprised to find almost all the seats full – with four and five year olds.

“I think they might find this film a little boring,” I whispered to Minnie as she tried to open a packet of mint chews without making a plastic crackle.

“They are all dancers” she replied with an assured professionalism that surprised me.

The mints came out the lights went down and the word ARTHUR appeared in the middle of the screen, followed by – ‘et la vengeance de Maltazard.’

One hour and thirty-four minutes later it was clear that we were not being treated to the clips for “all next week”.

Arthur, if you don’t know – and I did – is a sort of elves, fairies and nasty things animation and although I have the DVD of the first film in what looks like becoming a very long series, I would not have chosen to spend a Sunday afternoon watching.

But I did.

The next evening, despite the late start, two hours thirty plus running time, school and work the next morning, we returned, gave more euros for some pink pieces of paper and took our seats in a cathedraly empty and silent auditorium.

When I lived in London I periodically – once a year – thought I should go and see some professional dance, in the belief that the “cultureness” of the event would be good for me.

I was often – though I stress, not ALWAYS – disappointed.

La Dance was a mixed experience – everything I love about dance (tutus, points, leaps, twirls, pony tails) and everything I hate (unnecessary posturing, intellectual abstraction, leotards).

The filming was amateurish -problems with focus, too many arty shots of empty corridors (several of them repeated) and much, MUCH too MUCH of the pompous director listening to herself talking to herself.

I also learnt that ballet dancers have to be skinny – I pointed it out to my daughter as she finished the mints – she relied that she didn’t want to be a ballet dancer.

After 105 minutes she leant over and whispered – I’m not sure why we were the only people still awake – “are you bored”?

Isn’t it odd how you can be enjoying yourself up to the moment when someone says that and then suddenly your chair becomes SO uncomfortable that no position will satisfy?

We stayed to the end, I’ve only ever left the cinema once before the film ended – though I tried again recently during a David Lynch film but was physically restrained by Krissie.

As we left Minnie confided – “I preferred Arthur”.

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