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Has anyone else watched this Japanese movie called DANCE SUBARU! ?

It's a ballet movie that plays to the dance movie formula and uses quite a few of the common tropes, has a somewhat wooden lead, source material from a comic book (manga), and some fairly ludicrous plot points and yet somehow it manages to be a pretty enjoyable little time-waster.

Miyamoto Subaru is an aspiring ballerina, but she's got some hard times. Her mother died of a brain tumor, as did her twin brother. Her father is somewhat unsupportive. She befriends a cabaret owner, meets some of the outlandish Trocadero-ish dancers there, and eventually starts dancing there to pay for her ballet classes. Along the way, she meets "the boy", wanders among various dance communities, befriends a famous ballerina taking time off from ABT, has a coming-of-age while dancing in the corps for Swan Lake.

She finally decides to enter the IBC in Shanghai but faces a surprise when the contestants are revealed.

By far the most compelling and emotionally touching scenes are from the flashbacks of when she was young. The young Subaru lights up the screen with both her smile and tears. The moments of where she and her brother Kazuma are peeking in on a Swan Lake rehearsal, faces pressed against the glass of a window, are so genuine you can't resist. As is a cute moment where they hold hands and do the cygnet's bit down the street in that pretend-way that 6year old do.

One scene that bears mentioning is when Kazuma is ill and garnering all the attention, Subaru bursts out "I wish he would just vanish!" Later, a friend is telling her about Giselle. "I can show you Albrehct's dance." "It's a dance of apology? Then I have to learn it!" And then we see a bit where she dances a form of Albrecht's variation. It's very moving.

No, it's not great and much of the dancing is not great, but there's a good spirit in the movie and it works pretty well, especially if you like these sort of Karate Kid teenage-underdog movies. I rate it more enjoyable than Center Stage, FWIW.



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