Student Lyn Bentschik from CCDS reports back from dance documentary Ballroom Dancer at CPH-DOX and reflects upon the spirit of dancing.
Yesterday I went to the opening of CPH DOX, the documentary film festival in Copenhagen.
From the outside, the Danish Radio building didn't look very inviting. Two blue lighted cubes and a huge parking area. But as soon as I went inside, the building started to unfold itself and got more beautiful with every level I reached. My seat was on the balcony so I had to go all the way up until I entered the concert hall.
What an amazing architecture! The room felt huge, warm and very alive compared to the dead and cold parking area I'd just been to a few minutes before. Beside the red seats and the big screen in the middle of the round room I couldn't spot a single 90° angle. The room was round, the walls covered by beautiful wooden structures with groups of seats going all the way up, almost to the ceiling. Instead of an orchestra a big screen was installed in the middle of the room as we were going to watch the opening movie of the film festival Ballroom Dancer.
The film portraits the attempted comeback of a 34 year old Russian dancer after a 10-year break from competition. Even though he trained really hard, dramatically shown in the movie just like you imagine it: sweat, screaming, diet, exercises, close-up of the oh-my-god-I-can't-take-it-anymore-face and so on, he failed and couldn't re-find the spirit that had brought him so much success years ago.
Even though he reached 3rd place once and 5th place twice he couldn't take it anymore and decided to give up professional dancing entirely. In the last scene we see his ex-girlfriend and ex-dance partner Anna, marrying another guy and also see him teaching young upcoming talents.
You might think this sounds rather tragic and depressing to watch but the way I felt after the movie was in fact the exact opposite; it left me feeling encouraged and proud. Encouraged, because there's no way of reaching 1st place (or whatever you want to call the goal we're all working our asses off for) without finding that spirit. And proud to be able to go to a school that understands this und tries to give us room to search for that spirit every single day.
Text by Lyn Bentschik
Image from CPH-DOX