Friday, July 25, 2008

THE COMPANY

Since I missed it at the theatre, I've been waiting impatiently for Step Up 2: The Streets to come out on video. When the only copy at the local video store was already checked out, I asked the clerk if she had any other good dance movies on hand. She suggested Center Stage, which I have seen a dozen times already but am still willing to spend an evening with because it's so much fun (and set in Lincoln Center!) She also recommended Save the Last Dance, which I'd also seen on various occasions.

Turns out, she didn't have either of those flicks either. After a couple of minutes of research, she came up with The Company. I remembered vaguely that I had seen ads for it on tv but never made it to the theater to see it. "Great!" I said, "I'll take it!"

Neve Campbell (Party of Five) starred in, co-produced, and co-created the storyline for this film. The Company is directed by Robert Altman and also stars James Franco,who plays Neve's chef boyfriend,and MalcomMcDowell, who plays the arrogant director of the ballet company.
The dancers in the film are all from the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.

Although Neve is primarily known as a television and movie actress, she also has a long history as a dancer. She started dancing at six and studied, from ages 9 to 15, with The National Ballet School of Canada. At 15, she performed classical ballet in The Phantom of the Opera.

What makes this movie special is that it totally focuses on dance - not on competition or status-seeking between dancers, not on any actor in particular - just on dance. The dialogue is minimal, and where there are scenes that are not focused on dancing itself, much is conveyed through images and music rather than through words. Gorgeous.

After nine years of being away from dance, Neve had to go back to her roots and train intensively for two years leading up to the making of the film. To read a brief interview about Neve, dance, and the steps she took to make the film, go here.
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