Shall We Dance - Prologue

Alan Makinen amakinen at
Thu Nov 6 00:43:57 EST 1997

> > foreign
> > viewers would understand how socially unconventional 
> > it would be for a
> > Japanese to take up ballroom dancing

> This is where I disagree.  It is not so much that ballroom dancing is
> "unconventional" -- in fact it's pretty wildly popular among a certain
> middle-aged set there.

After the screening I attended, discussion about Japanese attitudes
about ballroom dancing went back and forth between the audience and Suo.
He said that attitudes about ballroom dancing had been undergoing change
and he described a current "dance scene," if you will, of growing
popularity. However, it seemed to me that Suo was referring to a fairly
recent phenomenon and that he was asserting that Shall We Dance had been
influential in creating interest in and bringing about public
"acceptance" of ballroom dancing. The implication in the film that there
should be a stigma of some kind attached to the practice of this, from a
Western perspective, relatively banal activity, was, I believe, why
members of the audience queried the director.

Anyway, this is what I recall Suo saying. I myself make no claim  of
first-hand knowledge about ballroom dancing in Japan.

Alan Makinen

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