The New Cinderella

This spring’s rendition of the family favorite, Cinderella, caught my eye not because it’s a familiar fairy tale retold. Rather, the movie’s main dance scene, where the story rises to its pinnacle, is what grabbed my attention.

On the crowded dance floor, Cinderella tries to run through the crowd before the clock strikes midnight, eager to escape the prince’s pursuit.

The beautiful gowns, the fluid steps, the couples moving seamlessly around the finite space all serve as a beautiful backdrop for the culmination of the storytelling, the height of the movie.

As it should be.

On the dance floor, so much happens and it all seems effortless. When you watch a couple glide across the parquet, you yearn to mimic their easy movements, not thinking for a minute that what they are doing could require hours of practice, or be a core workout.

But it is.

Yes, it becomes easy when you practice and get in a regular flow with your partner. But it is still a dance, literal and metaphorical, of knowing the timing, the rhythm, the beat, and the unspoken language between partners.

That a movie scene could include such choreography as fluid backdrop for an age-old story shows me how far ballroom has come. It’s part of the mainstream now, an accepted presence in what has become a rather informal society.

Perhaps the pendulum is swinging back to more formal ways. I’m not talking about stuffiness. I’m talking about the beauty of the dance, the age-old way we communicate with step and motion, with body language, with the emotion we conjure up from deep inside to project as our story from the dance floor out into the world.