Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dancing Queen

Daughter: Hey!! You'll never know-oh-oh. Where you are rocking all over the DANCE! Up here everywhere. In a circle everybody MOVE!!! Come and ask me. In the whole wide world. I'm EXPLODE!!


Those are the lyrics to a song my daughter made up yesterday. I wish I could have grabbed the video camera earlier because her song became more explanatory as she went on - but they were too good not to just start typing them out for posterity. What was most surprising about the song though was that it was paired with a dance and that it had actually melody to it. Prior to the past two days most of her singing has been a sort of mono-tone Monica Seles-style grunting. An auditory gift from her mother there (I know what you're thinking and stop it). But something has clicked these past two days.

And it's the fault of the movie Twinkle Toes. Yeah - that's a real movie. And more insane than that is that it's a movie by Skechers - the people who makes naff shoes. Yeah I'd never heard of it either. And judging by the 3/10 rating and absurdly low box office numbers it got on IMDB nobody else has either. Actually I looked it up on Amazon as well and the reviews are bizarre. One has the A#1 Parenting comment of, "an hour of peace for me." Marvelous stuff. Better though is the odd, "This was a gift for a child. It arrived on time and in good condition. I expect she liked it." A child? Expect? That has a Joseph Fritzl School Of Parenting quality about it. It makes it seem like the reviewer is secretly living in someone's house in the space between the hallway ceiling and the bedroom and saw it arrive in the mail. Actually my favorite review is the spam-bot quality of, "the quality of the movie was great thank!!!! I would get more movie from this company."

All the other reviews point out that it's a market-whoring project to sell $50 shoes. My daughter is five and a half and can't see that aspect of it at all though. Completely oblivious to it. As far as kid movies goes it's alright. Better than having to endure another hour of Thomas And The Magic F'ing Railroad. My favorite aspects of it are that my daughter has no concept of shame whatsoever so doesn't understand the core column holding up the movie. It's stuck right there - like Samson in sparkly dancing shoes ($55 for canvas shoes...? Mental) - to stir up the embarrassment and shame of tween kids in the Western world who do something stupid in front of the cool kids at school.

In this case it's the lead character in the story who is the coolest dancer on earth. She's so original and amazing that when she dances mentally she thinks she's swimming with dolphins. Literally. Which sounds absurd until you realize that in real life she dances with an anthropomorphic bunny rabbit. That factor is never explained at all by the way - no other animals show up at all - but she's so bloody cool that she has an actual rabbit that dances with her. Anyway - she gets tricked into going to Dance School by a clever English dance instructor/dream maker who sees her dancing in private whilst mopping (no really - that's the story line). And in spite of her crippling stage fright she goes and hopes to overcome it. But first she hopes to discover where that stage fright came from - seemingly unable to remember that she was angrily mocked by a foreign instructor (quite a lot of stereotypically brutal eastern European people in this) at a dance recital 18 months ago. And predictably she ends up being asked to dance in front of everyone and whilst doing so her stage fright takes hold and she face-plants into the hard wooden floor. And the annoyingly thin, jealous blonde super-dancer at the school (oddly who has a jock boyfriend in spite of it being a dance academy that takes place in a castle) captures it on her camera and uploads it Youtube where it instantly goes viral due to how pathetically embarrassing it all is.

This is where the entire structure of the movie fails for my daughter. Because instead of understanding the shame of it all she thinks the face-plant is just a dance move. After all smashing violently into the ground is a core rennet of my daughter's dance style. So the next 40 minutes of movie - wherein a redemption story of overcoming stage-fright and then uploading a self-mocking followup Youtube video to raise money to save the dance academy (thrilling stuff) and victoriously doing the Best Dance Evar at the end completely escapes my daughter. Instead the girl was instantly well respected and appreciated for her vibrant, daring edgy face-dancing really on in the movie and then goes on to warmly exploit that to save the educational future of her peers. It's a completely different movie with that angle firmly rooted in your mind. Much nicer. And with not a single shred of space for marketing shoes either.

Still - the aftershocks of it are that my daughter has had her own dancing style championed by someone on screen. Someone who's feet sparkle as she crashes her forehead into the floor. It's inspired my little girl to dance and sing all day long. Nothing could stop her. She even sang during dinner completely sub-consciously. In between mouthfuls of black-bean tacos she just warbled, "nobody is perfect, you do a circle over there. Feel it the fun. Oh woah woh."

Still - the best video of it all I could get was this. Which does involve her in her cheesy 80s dance outfit. Which she wore to bed so she could dance in her dreams. Her brother bombed around after her like an angry bee yelling, "Chase me!" and "Thomas" (obviously).


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