Does “the social dance” even exist?
One of the ways we do get a sense of ballet’s social relevance is with our dance scenes in the books. In The Social Dance I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to do various scenes in the movie from the book, and they were just as useful with the novel’s scenes. There are also plenty of “social dancing” scenes in other adaptations. For example, the musical version of Sleeping Beauty in the Broadway show doesn’t just dance around, but also sings, dances, etc, especially for the big musical number “Romeo.”
Did Disney ever find the social dance scene in Sleeping Beauty too difficult or too obvious? Did they feel the movie was more “frozen-y” than most other adaptations?
Disney wasn’t afraid to use an unconventional dance scene if it offered the right story or character beats. The company certainly would have liked for Sleeping Beauty to do this as many of the dances in The Social Dance (like that of the Little Mermaid’s Ariel) are quite similar to that of some of the ones used in The Lion King on film. (They would have also felt that, for some reason, they were given more freedom than other works had while choosing to show more of a social dance scene in the animated tale when compared to the live-action version.)
What about how it was originally presented? Did the ballet studio even want to do it?
This one is a bit more of a moot point. The story was written by a ballet group who had some original plans for the movie but were cut. Most of the script is in the public domain, of course. However, there will always be a place in our lives for things that have been left out and can sometimes take us down a dark rabbit hole.
My impression in the movie and in the novel is that one story takes place before the other and the “social dancing” scenes are just meant to be interchanged. It is almost like they thought, “You know, if this one is going to feature a ballet scene, why don’t we get one in which these two stories don’t seem to intersect? I mean, look at the characters, the setting, the settings… it won’t really work if we are forced to do a choreographed dance scene in The Social Dance just because we have to.”
I guess there is something to that. The main problem with these ballet scenes is that they seem to feel like they’re “forgotten,”
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