Camera Movement in Strictly Ballroom
Camera movement plays an important role in creating the ^feel^ of a movie. This is evident in ^Strictly Ballroom^, particularly in the dance sequences. The dynamic camera movement in ^Strictly Ballroom^ emphasizes and enhances the dance routines of its main characters. In the first dance sequence of the movie, the camera movements are long flowing tracking and pan shots. This emphasizes the smooth and graceful flow of the waltz being performed. This is in contrast to the accelerated pace and quick camera cuts used in the Latin dance segment. Again, the camera is being used as a tool to enhance the steps the viewer is witnessing. A major theme of ^Strictly Ballroom^, is Scott^s desire to perform freestyle dance steps. The camera movement contributes to this underlying theme by also performing in a freestyle manner. This is evidenced in the scene immediately following Scott and Tina^s getting boxed in. As Scott breaks through the barricade created by Ken and partner, he launches into a freestyle routine. The camera immediately begins behaving in a similar fashion. It moves around the room freely and spontaneously, capturing long continuous shots of Scott. This reinforces the sense in the viewer that neither Scott nor the camera is following any set plan or steps. Camera movement is also used to highlight the proficiency levels of various dancers throughout the film. When the viewer first sees Les^ dance studio, it is a very static overhead shot. The lack of camera movement mirrors the lack of ability of the beginner dancers. When the camera zooms in on Les, an experienced dancer, it immediately starts tracking him; this illustrates the difference between Les and his students. Nowhere are the effects of camera movement more effectively used than in the scenes showing Fran^s progression to becoming an accomplished dancer. Initially, she is introduced as an uncoordinated novice; shot with very sparse camera movement. Through the evolution of her learning stages, the camera mirrors her increasing fluidity and agility. Through the dynamic usage of camera movement, the viewer is given a heightened awareness of motion and action in the dancing scenes. This extends to the viewer an appreciation of the level of skill required to participate in ballroom dancing.