Slavic Kryklyvyy exploded onto the Latin ballroom scene at the age of 22. His meteoric rise culminated with a world championship less than 2 years later. However, troubled partnerships and injuries put him on the sidelines. Now at 34 years of age, he wants to make one last push for the top again.
The filmmakers are granted deep access and follow Slavic and his new partner, Anna Melnikova, as they prepare to compete. Anna is also his lover and the camera trails them from wake-up to bedtime. Slavic’s coaches believe the couple have the ability to make it to the top in a year, a year and a half tops. Their training ranges from dance to body self-awareness training to psychotherapy. Slavic is not just a technical dancer; his dance expresses passion and soul.
The ballroom world is a fast-paced and high pressure environment. Slavic wants desperately to win, all the more so as his former partner has dominated the competition in the last 5 years. Anna is a talented dancer in her own right, having recently won the amateur world championship, but is relatively unexperienced in the professional realm. Slavic is her lover, her dance partner and her mentor, and the stress of competition and the intensity of his personality put a strain on their mixed roles.
The film showcases dance as athleticism, artistry and emotion. This intimate and unguarded portrait is about more than a return to competition dancing. Somewhere among the gruelling training and the flash and glitz of competition is a moving film about dreams, love and life.
The Ballroom Dancer
Tue, May 1 3:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Wed, May 2 11:00 AM, Isabel Bader Theatre
Written by Pauline Dong
A native Torontonian, Pauline enjoys much that the city has to offer, especially in the areas of food and drink. She is also an enthusiastic traveller and explorer of other cultures. A self-described film geek, her interest in movies was first piqued by the early works of Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino and Wong Kar-Wai. More a fan than a critic, she invites your thoughts on the films in her articles.