And Then We Danced: The BRWC Review. By Heidi Sharpley.
“There is no sex in Georgian Dance”, shouts the dance master to his students. Reminds me of the minster in Footloose who announces there is no dancing in Bomont. But we know better, there is dancing and there is sex. This is not a lighthearted dance movie.
You won’t be singing along with Kenny Loggins at the end but you will be moved by this personal journey in a very constrictive and old fashioned society.
Mereb, played by Levan Gelbakhiani is a dancer in training committed to making it into the national dance company in Georgia. He is disciplined and hard working and trying so hard to be good – a good dancer, good son, good to his girlfriend, responsible financially and even polite on public transport. There’s a lot of tension building and pressure to be strong as the tradition of Georgian Dance conveys the spirit of the nation.
When Gelbakhiani is on the screen you don’t really need to read the subtitles, his face conveys all the emotion necessary and tells Mereb’s story beautifully. His eyes show the determination of a dancer trying to compete with himself and please others and when he smiles in rare moments of happiness you feel the sun radiating on you.
Like all dancers he tells the story with his body and when his shoulders slump with disappointment you feel the weight of it. He has a tough life, in a very judgemental environment.
I don’t want to give too much of the story away but to understand the importance of this movie, you first must know that in Georgia, being LGBTQ+ only became legal in 2000. Society is very much traditional, patriarchal, conservative and homophobic. When this movie premiered in Georgia, ticket holders had to pass through protesters to enter the cinema.
“And Then We Danced”, is a very beautiful movie about finding yourself. It’s a familiar story told in a new environment that really reaches you. It’s a wake up to the western world that we have come so far but the battle for acceptance of sexual diversity really has such a long way to come in many societies.
Spoiler alert, just like in all dance movies, the dance scene at the end is strong and powerful and you will cheer him on.
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