I am the featured blogger on the first and second Wednesdays of each month on the Blogger platform for Western Fictioneers and Prairie Rose Publications. I will repost a truncated version of those articles for my #HelloFriday! and #FridayFavorites posts on those two weeks with a link to the full article. Today’s full article is on the Prairie Rose Publications’ blog.
The September movie dance scene is from the 1998 swashbuckler-type movie The Mask of Zorro. While this is Number 4 in my Top 5 Countdown to December, numbers 2 through 5 are interchangeable as for which one I like more than the others. My Number 1 dance scene, which I will reveal in December, is definitely my favorite. 😉
Name of Movie: Mask of Zorro
Historical Time Period: 1821 – 1841
Location: Pre statehood California
Occasion/Purpose: Party at Don Rafael Montero’s hacienda / Distraction tactic
Type of Dance: Spanish Tango
This movie is a retelling of the Zorro legend. We begin with the original Zorro, Diego de la Vega, being captured by the evil Don Rafael Montero, who claims Zorro’s daughter, Elena, as his own. Fast forward 20 years, and we meet the grown up Elena and the soon-to-be-transformed into the new Zorro, Alejandro Murrieta.
Set-up to the dance scene:
Young Zorro (Antonio Banderas) is trained by Old Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) who assumes the role of Young Zorro’s mute manservant. They attend the still-evil Don Rafael Montero’s big party at his hacienda. Alejandro cuts in on Elena dancing with Captain Love. Capt. Love is a truly dislikable character. The banter between Capt. Love and Alejandro is quite witty.
Alejandro and Elena dance the last few moments of a waltz, and it is perfectly respectable with appropriate distance between their bodies and their hands and arms are where they should modestly be in public.
At 1:15 in the YouTube clip below, the manservant catches Alejandro’s eye and indicates that a distracting intervention must occur to prevent Don Rafael and the other Dons (landowners) from leaving the party.
Alejandro challenges Elena. “Would you care to try something more robust, or do you feel unequal to the task?”
Elena responds, “No. On the contrary, Don Alejandro. I think only of your distaste for perspiration.”
At 1:36, Alejandro requests a song.
Nice lead in. We’re hooked. We can’t wait to see this dance. And oh what a dance it is. Visually, we are mesmerized. Aurally, we are delighted.
They waste no time whatsoever getting to the point of the dance. Alejandro sweeps Elena into his arms and bends her back. She puts her arm around his shoulder, and we are rocketed into a Spanish Tango
As the music and tempo intensify, so does the physical interaction heat up between Elena and Alejandro. They maintain eye contact. They maintain body contact. There is passion and desire fairly flying off the screen at us. Their steamy dancing fogs our glasses. They are completely consumed with each other. The world around them ceases to exist clear up to the end of the dance.
Their almost-kiss is interrupted when the crowd cheers and claps. Elena comes back from where she had lost herself so completely in the dancing, that it actually takes her several moments to realize the public, and quite unladylike, spectacle she has made of herself .
Captain Love is not impressed with what he sees on the dance floor. Don Rafael is mortified.
The scene is so well crafted that we ask ourselves if Elena and Alejandro are dancing or fencing for the way they advance, parry, step back, and move in again for the ‘kill’.
Through dance, this scene shows us just how ‘hot blooded’ they are. It also hints at the social mores of the time, while offering us the visual of the costuming of the era.
The scene’s ending with Alejandro saying to Elena’s evil ‘father’ Don Rafael, “This is the way they are dancing in Madrid these days…Excuse me, Don Rafael, I need to catch my breath. Your daughter is a very spirited dancer.”
Don Rafael says, “Spirited. Thank you for putting it so delicately.”
Elena shoots daggers from her eyes at Alejandro. It’s an absolutely marvelous dance scene. If we had any doubts up to this dance scene that Elena and Alejandro were in love, we don’t now.
Until next time,
writing through history one romance upon a time