….is a life half lived”*
*Spanish proverb quoted in the 1992 film Strictly Ballroom.
Before the director Baz Luhrmann was best known for The Great Gatsby (2013), and even perhaps for Moulin Rouge! (2001), he was the creator of a film about a ballroom dancer who tries to break out from the boundaries of accepted and defined ways of dancing in order to pursue his own ideas, with his own choice of partner. Based on Luhrmann’s own experiences growing up, where his parents were involved in ballroom dancing, Strictly Ballroom is one of my all time favourite movies, and has a soundtrack to die for. It also happens to be the perfect film with which to start the new year.
I try each year to take with me a particular word – one to have in my pocket to help me keep focused on my goals and ambitions. My word for 2013 was ‘strength’ and that worked out pretty well. For 2014, it is ‘opportunity’. I start a new job tomorrow which sets me off in a new direction. And I have various other ideas in mind. I’m keeping an open mind and joy in my heart about what might come along, making the most of the opportunities that present themselves on the way.
The main character in Strictly Ballroom, Scott Hastings, has to wrestle with a number of tensions: his upbringing and societal pressure to do ‘the right thing’; the need to be seen not to fail and or look weak; the question as to whether it is ok to fall in love with the ‘wrong’ person. I don’t want to say too much because if you haven’t seen the film, it will spoil it for you. But if you are a SB virgin, I urge you to have a look at it – it is passionate, funny, moving and life-affirming.
Here’s a clip from the middle of the film – one of the scenes to demonstrate the passion and the drama of the story:
And this is the official video accompanying one of the film’s main tracks – Love is in the air performed by John Paul Young:
This is such an uplifting disco track and the video gives just a brief flavour of the film without, I hope, giving too much of it away.
But as for ‘a life half lived..’? Yes, the film encourages the chasing of dreams; having dreams in the first place even, and believing they can come true. The whole package, with its wonderful soundtrack, is a testimony to ‘going for it’ and not feeling bound by the status quo. Not worrying about ‘fitting in’. And certainly not holding back through fear of what might happen.
Great messages for the start of a new year, don’t you think?
“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”
Henry David Thoreau