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All Your Dance & Theatre Film Essentials for a Holiday Movie Marathon!

2020 has been a tough year. So much uncertainty and upheaval within the industry as well as the lives of its participants - both performers and patrons. The entertainment industry will likely be altered forever by the time we can turn the lights back on inside theatres. But though the year has been a bit of a write off it is still incredibly important to celebrate the constants we do have in our lives - friends, family, love, happiness and our health (though it seems 2020 is doing its best to threaten that right now).

One of my family traditions has always been to go to the cinema together. We celebrate the holidays on Christmas Eve with our extended family and for years after a nice holiday brunch find it hard to decide on what to do with our evenings December 25th Christmas Day. It wasn’t until 2009 when my mother, a dance teacher and former studio owner, needed hip surgery that a new holiday tradition was sparked. Looking for ideas for family activities that were low impact & relaxing so that my mother still walking with a cane could partake; going to the movies seemed like the perfect idea. That Christmas we spent nearly every day at Silver City movie theatre in Brampton Ontario; watching everything from Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, Up In The Air and more. As anti-social as sitting in a dark movie theatre may be, it was just nice to be together spending time and enjoying each others company. Something that often times can fall by the wayside when pursuing our careers. Since then we have made it a tradition to go to the movies each and every holiday season together to enjoy a film or two.

Now with movie theatres shut down due to the pandemic, I find myself searching for an alternative to keep the tradition alive. After a bit of discussion with the family we have settled on a dance & theatre movie marathon. So here are our picks for a movie marathon this holiday season.

Being a dance family - A mother who was a former studio owner, my sister and myself both performing professionally in dance & theatre and a father who thinks he has rhythm (he can’t find the beat if his life depended on it 🤦‍♂️); we decided to choose a variety of old dance/musical theatre films to enjoy.

1. First on our list is a little known Australian dance film called “Bootmen”

  • Starring Adam Garcia playing the Cocky, rebellious and ambitious, Sean Okden, who is determined to follow his passion to become a ground-breaking tap dancer, and not resign himself to a life toiling in the local steel mill like most of the men in his hometown. Despite Sean's astonishing talent, his no-holds-barred attitude has a cost. First, he incites the wrath of his widowed father -- who along with almost everyone in town, mocks his dreams. Then, he clashes over the affections of the beautiful Linda with his brother Mitchell.A reimagining of the origin story of one of Australia’s greatest tap exports the TapDogs from the 1990s Bootman.

A reimagining of the origin story of one of Australia’s greatest tap exports the TapDogs from the 1990s; Bootmen though a little corny and predicable at times is a super fun and exciting film with one of the best Tap dance endings in the history of film.

You can rent it or buy it via YouTube using the link below:

2. Next on our list is a fosse classic entitled “All That Jazz”

  • When he is not planning for his upcoming stage musical or working on his Hollywood film, choreographer/director Joe Gideon (played by Roy Scheider) is popping pills and sleeping with a seemingly endless line of women. The physical and mental stress begins to take a toll on the ragged perfectionist. Soon, he must decide whether or not his non-stop work schedule and hedonistic lifestyle are worth risking his life.

A little on the heavier side of things the film is a semi-autobiographical tale written and directed by the legendary Bob Fosse. The dancing is unique, exciting and a true tribute to the fosse style that has shaped so much of dance today. We also found it a fitting way to pay tribute/celebrate the life and memory of female dance/theatre icon Ann Reinking who recently passed this December.

You can watch it via CTV’s website for free:

3. Third on our list is the light hearted golden age classic “Singing In The Rain”

  • When the transition is being made from silent films to `talkies', everyone has trouble adapting. Don and Lina have been cast repeatedly as a romantic couple, but when their latest film is remade into a musical, only Don has the voice for the new singing part. After a lot of practise with a diction coach, Lina still sounds terrible, and Kathy, a bright young aspiring actress, is hired to record over her voice.

Starring the ultimate song & dance man Gene Kelly along side Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor this classic MGM movie musical is in my opinion one of the best ever created. It brings to life iconic songs/dance numbers like Make’em Laugh & Singing In The Rain to name a few. Love, laugh and enjoy this exciting film.

Like Bootmen, you can rent or buy it via YouTube:

4. Last on our marathon list is the absolutely fantastic ballet film ‘Center Stage”

  • The education of three young students, Jodie, Eva and Maureen, as they study at the American Ballet Academy. Life isn't what they expected at the esteemed ABA, and all three face problems along the road. Jodie doesn't have the "ideal" body for dancing, Eva doesn't have the right attitude, and Maureen doesn't have the heart. Along the way, they learn that love can be found in unlikely places, and dancing should be a passion, not a duty.

An incredible dance film that brings you everything from drama to conflict to heartbreak and more. It is a roller coaster of emotions that so many performers can relate with. The dancing in the this film is extraordinary and will not disappoint. Like Bootmen, the film ends on one of the most exciting dance scenes ever created.

Watch the movie via YouTube using the link below:

Though some of these choices may be a little predictable, all of these films are incredible dance/theatre movies and will not disappoint. So grab some popcorn & snacks, find a comfy seat, sit back, relax and enjoy! Start a new tradition with your family. I will be upholding mine, even during a pandemic and marathoning through some of my favourite films!

Happy Holidays!!!

Adam Martino

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