Strictly Ballroom Essay

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In Baz Luhrmann’s film Strictly Ballroom, many characters are significantly impacted by the barriers associated with the control of individuality, before they are able to feel accepted. Daniel Swain’s newspaper article “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re still in high school” grips the challenges and suffering an individual faces when attempting to become socially accepted. The personas in these texts need to overcome the challenges that arise, and embrace the opportunities, in order to establish their sense of identity. The characters in Strictly Ballroom experience many challenges in their attempts to fit into the ballroom dancing world. In particular, Scott struggles to conform to the restraints of ballroom dancing, and this becomes evident in Scene 3. With Les’ words “to pick what was actually wrong with the steps, you’d have to be an experienced professional like myself” resonating in his mind, Scott begins to dance his own steps, which conveys his refusal to conform to the ballroom dancing world, and shows his desire to be different. This is reinforced through the use of lighting, which accentuates his unique dance steps, and also isolates him at times. Scott moves in and out of the spotlight, showing the inner conflict he is experiencing as he struggles to find his sense of self. He alternates between two identities: a ballroom dancer who follows the Federation’s requirements in the spotlight, and an individual who wants to turn his back on the structure of ballroom dancing and be who he wants to be, but is repressed in the shadows. His syncopated steps portray his desire to reject the conformity of the ballroom dancing world, and embrace his individuality and self-expression. Scott’s eventual understanding of where he feels a strong sense of belonging is influenced by his dance partner, Fran. An awkward and reserved dancer, Fran clearly does not fit in with

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