Monday, March 28, 2005

Billy and Ballet

I LOVE Billy Elliott! What a lad. I enjoyed the scene in the car with his ballet teacher when they have a yelling match, and he tells her, "Alright, don't lose yer blob."

It has taken me a long time to watch this movie. I love ballet, but I avoided it because I can't stand anything set in those gritty northern mining towns. It's difficult to imagine that only in the 80s there was intolerance towards males who aspired to dance.

I fell in love with Billy when he argued with his Dad, after he'd come and dragged Billy out of ballet class. As he ran off to go to teacher's house, I thought, "This lad has spunk! Go Billy!" His father begins as one insensitive working-class so-and-so who doesn't know how to give his aspiring son a chance!
To think, he attempts to insult the teacher by calling her middle class.

There is a huge irony in that, although Billy is a deep thinker and does not belong with the rioting yobs in the streets, he is perceived as 'gay' by the mining community. Even were he gay, he could not be less respectable than the men in town who get drunk and make fools of themselves everywhere.
And although he's the one doing ballet, his best mate is the one who dresses up in his sister's clothes and puts on her lipstick. "Just coz I like ballet, doesn't mean I'm a pouf."

I also love the scene where he decides to stand up to his father in the hall, and dances defiantly before him. And father finally gives in, rather admirably I might add. He braves the rioting strikers to go to work to raise the 2 grand for Billy's RADA training. Giving his son a chance after all.

Billy (rather disgusted at his dad): Have you never been to London? It's the capital city!
Dad: Well there's no mines in London...
Billy: Is that all you think about?

And on exam day at RADA, it's good old Dad who forces Billy to continue the course, even though this genteel environment is a completely alien world to both.
What he says at the end of the interview after a string of apathetic "I dunno's", is what finally redeems him...That something changes, he feels a fire in his body, he sort of disappears, like a bird, sort of flying...yes, electricity...
And perhaps this deep emotional experience is what the board is looking for. Anyone who undergoes the rigorous training of a dancer needs that fire in the bones.
And as Mr Elliott the miner descends into the bowels of the earth, he has allowed his son to fly on the wings of angels...!


Jia Li said...

Go Billy!

Rebecca said...

I'm with you on every word!

Anonymous said...

I watched this movie for the first time last year with one of my classes in Amiens. I enjoyed it and so did the class until they had to do a discuss on the movie in english. They did pretty good.