Ballet and Swan Lake isn't exactly my cup of tea, but Dance Subaru! convinced me to stick around for its sensible storyline which reflects on the principle notion of keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer. Meisa Kuroki stars as the titular character Subaru, who had to live through tragedy and parental objection, in order to pursue her dream of dance. She runs away to a cabaret where she becomes the protege to an ex-ballerina Madam Isuzu (Momoi Kaori) and like a martial arts practitioner, has her innate talents honed by multiple teachers along the way, not only in Ballet, but Contemporary Dance, Hip Hop and the likes.
Surprisingly this dance film has a lot more to do than just showcase its dance moves. Essentially it contains a very true to life story on human nature itself, how we from time to time succumb to envy, where friends can become rivals either on personal or professional terms. Here, we see how super cool Subaru has two friends/fiends in Mana (Sano Miku), whom she knew since childhood, and peer critic Liz Park (Korean model Ara), who is seeking out new inspiration to her craft. At times the characters' rivalry reminded me of that in the Japanese animation film The Piano Forest, where one of the protagonist harbours envious thoughts at his friend's raw talent, making light of the hard work he has to put in to become one of the best.
That aside, it's also a reminder of how one has to learn both to work independently and become a star player, and also be adaptable to become a team player should the situation calls for it. And the dances here provide some excellent avenues for that as well, when we journey with Subaru to unlearn what she has learnt, and picking up new vibes and skills to become a more well-rounded dancer.
This film is not strictly for dance fans, as non-fans could easily follow the universal themes here, and of course, pick up a tip or two about dance, Ballet, and Swan Lake.
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