Ballroom Dancer

[12a]

Denmark 2013, 78 mins
Director: Andreas Koefoed, Christian Bonke

+ Q&A with KELE BAKER (Strictly choreographer)

Kele Baker is the Argentine Tango choreographer for BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing, and has choreographed and staged dances for numerous television and theatrical productions.

Dramatically photographed by co-director Koefoed, this moving documentary charts ex-World Latin American Dance Champion Vyaches Kryklyvyy’s attempt to rebuild his career following injury, depression and memory loss. Having also lost his winning partner and lover, Joanna Leunis, the fiery Ukrainian attempts to recreate the magic with her replacement, Anna Melkinova, who struggles to cope with his mood swings and demanding dance routines.

A sense of tragedy somehow dogs them both, although this is wisely never overplayed by the film’s young directors. Ultimately, however, what hallmarks this truly exciting film is the dramatic persona of Kryklyvyy himself, all chiselled features and smouldering gaze – plus of course his breathtaking performances on the dance floor, even when he is pushing the plainly inexperienced Melkinova beyond her endurance and capabilities. An unexpected gem, even for those with two left feet.