Driven to Dance provided technical dancing but mediocre acting

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It’s challenging to not be instantly attracted to a dance-related movie whose actors are technical dancers. The dancers’ high-caliber dancing was stunning; but, it only almost allowed me to ignore the emotionless acting that accompanied it. As Glenn, the dance coach in the movie would say to Paige, “You are a performer, everyone should think that this is easy.”

Unfortunately, the actors made portraying any type of emotion to be perceived as difficult— a complete contrast to the effortless, beautiful dancing they consistently provided throughout the movie.

Driven to Dance is a movie about a teen dancer named Paige who at the start of the movie is preparing for two ballet company auditions in her near future. However, her life at home was not at its best; her father recently moved out, and her mother refused to sign their divorce papers. Likewise, Paige had not been scoring well on her math tests; therefore, her mother demanded that she be tutored. However, the tutoring sessions collided with her dance practices, and Paige’s mother refused to continue paying for dance until Paige brought her math grade up. Therefore, Paige struggled to choose between what her mom wanted and what she wanted.

The acting that the cast of Driven to Dance provided was lifeless. I was frequently wondering if any coaching involving acting had been supplied for the actors. Their recitation of the script was always bland, and none of the actors brought anything special to the table with their acting. Likewise, there was some silence that was purposely incorporated into the script; however, I felt that its purpose was not accurately executed. The quiet moments in the script allowed for the scenes to turn extremely awkward. Finally, I was disappointed in the adult actors that were cast into the movie. I understand that most of the actors in the movie are around my age; therefore, the depth of their acting should not be perfected yet. However, the majority of the adult actors have probably been acting for numerous years; therefore, their acting should have been much better than what they presented.

Regarding casting, I felt as if the appearance of every actor was very accurate. The teen actors appeared to be the same age as the characters in which they were portraying— along with the adult actors. Likewise, the wardrobe and makeup given to each actor were fitting; no actor’s makeup was too complex for what a person their age would wear. Overall, I felt that Driven to Dance accomplished putting together a cast that was excellent visually.

A scene that stood out to me was when Paige was completing her first audition for a company. As a dancer, I know that practice and preparation are crucial to a successful audition. Therefore, my heart broke for Paige when she walked into the audition clearly flustered and unprepared. Likewise, when she continuously made mistakes, I felt frustrated for her and the circumstance in which her mother was putting her in. My mom is supportive of my dancing, and I could not imagine dancing without her support continuously there to back me up.

Driven to Dance was released by MarVista Entertainment in April 2018. However, the movie was just released onto Netflix— which was the platform that I chose to view it on. It stars Juliet Doherty as Paige, Kaitlyn Black as Paige’s mom, Walter Belcher as Glenn, and Jack Beckham as Paige’s friend Luke.

Finally, the central theme of Driven to Dance is the importance of believing in your own abilities and taking risks to follow your passion. Paige had to disobey her mom’s wishes in a myriad of situations throughout the movie; however, Paige was following her passion, and her mother was later able to acknowledge her talent and support her. The movie also did successfully show the power of compromise: Paige raised her grade and then could resume preparation for auditions.

Overall, Driven to Dance consisted of beautiful dancing and a heartfelt theme. Although the acting took away from the overall quality of the movie, the idea behind the movie and the message of it were extremely powerful— which is difficult to not appreciate.

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