My favorite dance movie: Jonathan Janolo
From Billy Elliot to Black Swan, dance has provided an intense backdrop to some of the big screen’s most emotional stories. Dancers, in turn, are inspired by films which revolve on their chosen calling. In this series, the artists of Ballet Manila share their thoughts on the dance movies that made an impact on them, that they relate to and which they have grown to love.
Music, dance, performance – this is the powerful combination that Burlesque offers, and which Ballet Manila rehearsal master Jonathan “Jay” Janolo points to as to why he likes this film.
Released in 2010, Burlesque is topbilled by two of pop music's biggest stars – Cher and Christina Aguilera. Christina plays Ali, a small-town girl who heads to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music, only to end up as a waitress in a burlesque club owned by Tess (Cher).
Ali gets so intrigued by the art of burlesque that she eventually dreams of doing it onstage, too. Though initially reluctant to give her a try, Tess eventually relents and is surprised to find that Ali actually has a voice that can command the entire room. Overcoming intrigues, Ali soon stars in her own revue and manages to help Tess through her financial woes to ensure that the club will stay open.
Jay appreciates the dynamic numbers that string Burlesque together. Overall, he says, “I like how it was choreographed kasi hindi malaswa (not vulgar) although it's supposed to come out as a strip club. Everything was well thought out, down to the details.”
His favorite part is the film's final number, Show Me How You Burlesque, with Christina going full-blast in singing and dancing while the rest of the sequinned cast matches her energy and vibe.
“It's a feast for the eyes and the ears,” Jay describes. “We call it a grand coda or a grand finale in ballet where everybody is on stage and giving their all to the audience. Talagang spectacle.”
Jay is in awe of the movements and the physicality of the performers. “Its theatrical / cabaret routines are really clever. I also like the costumes, as well as the music because they made it modern but yet it's classical.”
Beyond the pulsating beats, however, it's in the essential theme of the movie that Jay finds an affinity with. “It's the same struggle for any performer – to get that break. You push yourself to your limit and the result of your hard work may not show right away. All of you have your own personal goals but you are united by one common heart – the passion for a great performance.”