Shall We Dance?
It begins in junior high. The lights dim, the music slows, and suddenly the seventh grade dance turns into a place fraught with tension as hopeful romantics wonder if they’ll be asked to take a turn out on the floor. From that night forward, we understand the potential of a dance. It’s more than just swaying to the latest Adele song or spinning off into a waltz. A dance has long been synonymous with romance.
I’ve been thinking about the dance in romance lately. It’s been an ongoing theme in my Facebook posts for the last week. If you want to see some highlights of great cinematic dances, visit my page. There are also some memorable dances in fiction. Jane Austen made the most of country dances and formal balls to bring her characters together, and fortunately those scenes captured the imaginations of the directors who brought them to the big screen. Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Bennett is spot-on in this version of Pride and Prejudice. There’s a memorable moment in Emma, as well.
As a writer, I love a dance scene for the immediate intimacy. The whole rest of the room falls away, no matter how many other people are floating in the background of a scene. When the music begins, you have a precious window of time for an exchange between the hero and heroine, whether it’s a tense whisper of secrets or a halting revelation of deeper feelings. In a contemporary novel, a dance is a great way to escape the crowd and get to know each other. In a historical novel, a dance is one of the few ways a couple can share private words and touches.
I’m glad to see the dance scene preserved in Young Adult novels and films. I recently read Heather Dixon’s Entwined and was enchanted by the dance scenes. Edward and Bella dance. Harry and Hermione do too, although that scene was unique to the film, wasn’t it? Dance is a way to show affection, a way to celebrate a moment or- my personal favorite- a gateway to romance.
I hope you’ll join me on Facebook this week to keep up to date on some memorable film dances. From Picnic to A Knight’s Tale, I’m chatting about them all! I’d love to hear about dance scenes you love in film, whether it’s a romantic movie or a big, showstopping number like “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”… let me know here or on Facebook and I’ll give one commenter a copy of my upcoming Blaze, FULL SURRENDER.