On The Fear of Dancing with Michael Allcock

25 Nov

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

CBC Gem
Streaming November 27th, 2020

Some people may not necessarily to go “Slow dancing, Swaying to the Music” ala Johnny Rivers with that significant other or to “Pump up the Jam” with Technotronic. Children generally will do their thing on the dance floor. Teens, however, have a lot more to deal with when at that Winter formal. As for how many will skip the prom due to nerves, that’s subject to debate. But when an individual becomes an adult, just why they do or do not go clubbing, depends. Writer/Director/Narrator Michael Allcock is one of those persons who has a Fear of Dancing.

His filmography is vast. His two decade long career saw him work in various genres, but it’s his love for documentaries which drives him. He’s the creative mind behind Semisweet: Life in Chocolate and Kubo’s Crickets. He admits to simply being a hired gun to put together the narratives of many products–ranging from Canadian science fiction television series Starhunter to being a screenwriter for Paranormal 911. When opportunities pop up to make feature-length documentaries, he admits to being at his best when he’s in full creative control.

Allcock’s idea behind Fear of Dancing is to make people aware of the fact that they are not alone. He explained his work also includes how to be at peace with yourself, in a social situation where you don’t have to feel awkward when there’s a dance floor nearby.

“I was never really skilled. I have rhythm–that was something I showed in the dance sequence on the beach; my issue is more about why should I dance? I don’t really get anything out of it. My film is about letting go and we all have things that hold us back in life that we can’t overcome,” said this director.

When he made this work personal, he was not simply wanting to get over his own feelings of insecurity. Where he takes viewers is a brilliant examination of what others have to say about this phobia. His journey included travelling to Kenya to meet Lucia and Margaret. They thought to dance is a God-given thing. They didn’t bother trying, because they believed they had not been given that gift.

For others, ” [this film is] to give a voice to those who are voiceless, and for those dancers to be more sensitive and considerate to those that have that fear,” added Allcock. “If I can get that across as a message, then I’m happy.”

This work explores all the anxieties, reasons, and isolation not only he had but also others feel too. The fact even celebrities, like Stephen Fry, have this fear shows these chromophobes are not alone. This filmmaker wrote a letter to this actor/comedian and simply pleaded his case.

“I knew he had a deep hatred,” revealed Allcock, “It was as simple as that. When you see a movie star who can dance, but now here’s one who doesn’t, I think it opens up the circle that wider.”

He spent four years developing this documentary. When enough producers were on board, it was time to consider what the story have to be about. In his research, he found a time when dancing was considered courtship. In where this form of expression can be found now–in video games, as exercise, in art installations and theatre–the gambit is not quite the same.

Allcock is not a gamer, but he is aware of the various technologies now out there, and he tried one out. One segment had him in virtual reality to learn the basics of ballroom dancing. He acknowledged, “Rebecca and Jorge did a great job. It would not fix me, but it may fix somebody else. There’s also dancing in the dark–obviously many people have taken to it–which still didn’t do much for me. I’m not the best example, but I think the VR thing is pretty cool.”

There are plenty of ways to mend, but as for what’s next, he concluded, “I’m never going to be the guy that says, ‘Let’s go out to dance.’ Making this film really helped me think it through. I’m just sick of talking about it. I just want to be at the next stage, you know? And that’s where I’m at.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: