Wednesday, June 13, 2012

May I Have the Next Dance?

Eeeeeee!!!! Ahem, you can fill up my entire dance card any time, Mr. Crawford. (x)
On Monday I fulfilled a lifelong dream and learned how to salsa dance. Well, I say learned, but really there was a lot more stepping on strangers' toes, laughing, "Wait! Stop! Oh, I'm sorry!" etc. Still, it was so much fun and I am already a bit of a salsa junkie. Just like my favorite period pieces, ladies must wait for a gentleman to politely ask you to dance. So naturally, with all this dancing and ballroom etiquette, I can't help looking back at ten of my favorite dances from period pieces. Because dances back then were one of the few times where it was appropriate to make physical contact. Not to be a total sap, but... how romantic! *swoon* Naturally, these scenes are full of heart-melting goodness that you just can't get enough of. Shall we take a look at all the PROXIMITY and delicious tension?

Mansfield Park:
Dancing begins at 0:30.
This has always been one of my favorites. You've got everyone in a love rhombus dancing together, PROXIMITY (particularly with the hands barely brushing the hair of one's partner), the flirty Henry Crawford, and slow mo. In a word: delightful! You see... I have a confession to make: I kind of love bad boy Henry Crawford. There is such potential to be good, but it's overwhelmed by his impatience and impropriety. I can't help fangirling a little over him. Alessandro Nivola, what have you and your curly locks done to me?!

Tess of the d'Urbervilles:
This one will always be close to my heart not only because it was my first introduction to Eddie Redmayne and his dreamy voice, but it's Tess and Angel's first meeting. As soon as they lay eyes on each other, they are mesmerized. And thus one of the greatest tragedies of all time begins in the most innocent way possible. With a look and a few turns in a simple country dance, they unkowningly seal their fates forever.

The Young Victoria:

Dancing begins at 0:35.
Walking in to her coronation ball, Queen Victoria is not thinking of the crown at all, but of Prince Albert. I love the cinematography and how she magnetically floats toward him as if he is the only thing in the world, much less the room. Last she knew he couldn't waltz, but he sweeps her up in total surprise. They are both so fixed on one another through the entire song, but I love how they immediately break into awkward banter as soon as it's over. Oh the butterflies!

I know this might seem like a strange one, but I've always loved this musical despite how many times we watched it in high school choir. Che, the narrator played by Antonio Banderas, is the political opposite to Madonna's Evita Peron. This dance shows both political sides finally acknowledging each other, but in dance format, which makes for a spicy display. It's aggressive, but passionate, vulnerable, and muy caliente! *fans self*

Jacquou le croquant:
Obviously, this one is in French, but it's easy to see what is happening. It's basically a period piece dance off! And who doesn't like those? Jacquou, played by the beautiful Gaspard Ulliel, stands up to the wicked Count of Nansac after he comes and ruins the festivities of the townspeople. The count and his daughter, who has secretly pined for Jacquou ever since he saved her life as a child, dance against Jacquou and his lady friend Lina, winding up humiliated. The music and cinematography here is staggering; I love how we swirl around and see Lina's unabashed adoration for her hero. Absolutely lovely!

Anna and the King:
Excuse me while I... *SOBBING* There is something so exquisite and heartbreaking about an "unhappy" ending. Circumstances prevent these two from being together, but their love for each other in this final scene is palpable. They never kiss, but such is the power of PROXIMITY, they don't need to. The scene is brimming over with raw emotion from the tear running down Anna's cheek to the King of Siam kissing her hand- the poor girl can barely breathe by the look of it- and pressing it to his heart. Like I said, I just... I just... *SOBBING*

Kate & Leopold:
After that last one, I need a happy ending. And, I mean, this film counts as half period piece, right? While the dance is just a little snippet at the end, I can't help squealing every time. Whatever, y'all, I am a hopeless romantic and want this to be my life, alright?! Gah! It's so sweet! The look on his face when he first sees Kate in his own time and descends the steps to go to her? Flawless. So cheers to jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge and landing back in the 19th century with the love of your life!

Pride & Prejudice (2005):
It's just so enchanting, isn't it? I feel like I'm falling into a Jane Austen dream whenever I watch this one. I love Matthew Macfadyen's quiet discomfort and the way he bristles when Mr. Whickham is mentioned. And Keira Knightley's Elizabeth is so sharp tongued, you can't help wanting to be her misguided self in this moment. Beyond that I don't really know what to say as this beautiful scene speaks for itself.

Pride & Prejudice (1995):
This was probably my first exposure to old fashioned dancing scenes and it's set a high standard for them ever since. Colin Firth's brooding Darcy is perfect! From the opening bow to his attempt at civility and then steely resolve, the intense look in his melty chocolate eyes gives me CREYES inside. And I love the way you see Jennifer Ehle's Elizabeth get so flustered, battling her humiliation when a wedding between her sister and Mr. Bingley (who looks so ridiculously happy in the background by the way! *heart-clutch*) is alluded to. Their chemistry is glaringly evident in their speech and movements, but as we all know, it takes ages for them to realize it. Which is why this part's so great!

Becoming Jane:
Okay, I'm just going to come right out and say it... Out of all of these, this is my absolute favorite! AHHHHHHHH FEELINGS!!!!!!!!! The look Tom gives her when they first see each other... James! McAvoy! Ah! Ah! Ah!*smelling salts* Best. thing. ever. And the way her spirit lights up? I caaaaaaaan't!!! My heart is beating so fast! I think I'm going to faint! I need my smelling salts again! I am powerless against the little details: his velvet coat, his hand on the small of her back, the stolen glances. This scene is an absolute powerhouse of emotion. You can just feel their intensity burning on screen without them even saying a word. It makes my toes curl! Such a contrast from their bicker-y first dance! Eeeeeeeeep!!!!!

Of course my all time favorite dance in a movie is the tension-full one between Maria and Captain von Trapp in the The Sound of Music, but alas, I cannot find it to share with you. Honestly though, I could watch scenes like these all day. I've said it before and I'll say it again: PROXIMITY!!!!! Which are your favorites, dear readers?

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