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Camera movement plays an important role in creating the ^feel^ of a
movie. This is evident in ^Strictly Ballroom^, particularly in the
dance sequences. The dynamic camera movement in ^Strictly Ballroom^
emphasizes and enhances the dance routines of its main characters. In
the first dance sequence of the movie, the camera movements are long
flowing tracking and pan shots. This emphasizes the smooth and
graceful flow of the waltz being performed. This is in contrast to the
accelerated pace and quick camera cuts used in the Latin dance
segment. Again, the camera is being used as a tool to enhance the
steps the viewer is witnessing. A major theme of ^Strictly Ballroom^,
is Scott^s desire to perform freestyle dance steps. The camera
movement contributes to this underlying theme by also performing in a
freestyle manner. This is evidenced in the scene immediately following
Scott and Tina^s getting boxed in. As Scott breaks through the
barricade created by Ken and partner, he launches into a freestyle
routine. The camera immediately begins behaving in a similar fashion.
It moves around the room freely and spontaneously, capturing long
continuous shots of Scott. This reinforces the sense in the viewer
that neither Scott nor the camera is following any set plan or steps.
Camera movement is also used to highlight the proficiency levels of
various dancers throughout the film. When the viewer first sees Les^
dance studio, it is a very static overhead shot. The lack of camera
movement mirrors the lack of ability of the beginner dancers. When the
camera zooms in on Les, an experienced dancer, it immediately starts
tracking him; this illustrates the difference between Les and his
students. Nowhere are the effects of camera movement more effectively
used than in the scenes showing Fran^s progression to becoming an
accomplished dancer. Initially, she is introduced as an uncoordinated
novice; shot with very sparse camera movement. Through the evolution
of her learning stages, the camera mirrors her increasing fluidity and
agility. Through the dynamic usage of camera movement, the viewer is
given a heightened awareness of motion and action in the dancing
scenes. This extends to the viewer an appreciation of the level of
skill required to participate in ballroom dancing.
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