LA LA LAND – THE PRELUDE OF TIMES GONE BY

According to American author and entrepreneur Tim Fargo, a treasured memory is the lasting gift of time well spent.

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

Looking back when I first started dancing, it’s easy to point out from whom I’ve drawn all the inspiration that my grandfather inadvertently must have sown – Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Absorbing all those fabulous movies with colourful scenery, elegant dancers and surreal plots has surely left an impact on what was to become my future passion as I graduated from college and university. My favourites to date are Top Hat (1935) Singing in the Rain (1952) and The King and I (1944).

 

On the 9th December 2016, cinema theatres were graced with La La Land. Directed by a vibrant 32-year old, Damien Chazelle, and choreographed by Mandy Moore from Dancing with the Stars, this beautiful movie can be defined as a tribute to the golden age of Hollywood musical films. For those who are unfamiliar with this genre, musical film is a genre in which songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing.

At first glance the similarities that La La Land has with Metro Golden Mayor classics is unequivocal; from Demy’s 1964 masterpiece The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, to Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s 1952 Singing in the Rain, finishing with Minelli’s 1951 An American in Paris. The question is why La La Land is so appealing to contemporary society. The answer lies behind the impromptu dance moves that the film is glazed with. They’re not just irrelevant breaks in the plot. They’re there to set the tone and communicate inner emotions. This film is about 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 put humans in a cage of online social networks, we seem to have forgotten how to interact. La La Land is a reminder of this need to come together.

At Passion 4 Dance, this is how I believe the experience of dancing should be. I strongly believe that beyond the steps to be learnt, it’s the magic happening between two people that takes over and inhibits two moving bodies together. So my final word to you is dance like no one’s watching! Happy dancing!

 

A note about the author: Jean-Claude Dimech started dancing at the age of nineteen, a passion which he later took overseas to study the craft and pursue the profession as an instructor. A graduate PGCE teacher, he holds a national Coaching licence awarded by the Malta Olympic Committee Academy, and he’s also obtained the University of Malta Pre Tertiary Certificate in Coaching.

Passion 4 Dance is dance club run by Jean-Claude Dimech. For further information, contact info.passion4dance@gmail.com.