Ballroom Dancer

Slavik Kryklyvyy, a once legendary World Latin American Dance Champion, has been out of the spotlight for ten years but is determined, with the help of a new partner, to recapture his former glory.
Country: Denmark Runtime: 80 mins Director(s): Christian Bonke, Andreas Koefoed
Cast: Slavik Kryklyvyy, Anna Melnikova

FILM FESTIVALS: Raindance Film Festival 2012

Sport – and the events that are categorised under this label are considered some of the hardest, most enduring activities a human being can undertake. But where is dance placed within this spectrum of boundary-breaking performance?

‘Ballroom Dancer’ is a stylish documentary following the celebrated Russian artiste Slavik Kryklyvyy on a journey to reinstate his former position of glory. Kryklyvyy retired from the professional ballroom circuit some years back due to injury, but the film captures him gambling on a return with a new, yet already long-suffering partner Anna Melnikova, in both the professional and personal senses.

The ballroom calendar seems similar to that of pro tennis i.e. relentless travel and training, interspersed with regular competitions. And the high octane environment soon takes its toll on the couple, and suggests that business and pleasure are best kept as separate as possible. The footage shows what really goes into the upkeep of dancers performing at such a level, and how different kinds of people can be attracted to the art form. Both dancers are innately gifted, but choose to approach their craft in opposing ways – hence the volatile, and at times destructive relationship.

‘Ballroom Dancer’ is an intimate film that communicates the real tribulations of an artist’s existence, as opposed to the usual adoration and sequins combo.

Matthew Paluch