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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.

 




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