Ballroom Dancer

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“Slavik Kryklyvyy, a Ukrainian gypsy of volatile temperament, is a superb physical specimen, and his dancing is sublime.” — John Anderson, Variety

Year: 2011
Country: Denmark
Running time: 84 mins
Genres: Dance

Photography: Christian Bonke, Andreas Koefoed
Producer: Jakob Nordenhof Jønck
Editors: Åsa Mossberg, Marion Tuor
Music: Magnus Jarlbo
In English and Russian, with English subtitles

With: Slavik Kryklyvyy, Anna Melnikova

Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2011; Tribeca 2012

Impossibly handsome Slavik Kryklyvyy, a former world Latin American dance champion, is making a comeback after a ten-year hiatus. Accompanied by gorgeous Anna Melnikova, herself an amateur world champion, his new partner and lover, he is determined to win back the crown. Anna may just be the girl who can cope with his fiery temperament and exacting nature: Slavik is convinced that he and she will eventually ‘learn to dance together’. The galling success of his ex, reigning champ Joanna Leunis, and her new partner stokes his competitive fires to full blaze. From intensive training sessions to international competitions from Moscow to Hong Kong, this intimate, superbly shot film captures the pair’s every move, misstep and extraordinary spin. It is a rich, engrossing portrait of coupledom, so perfectly idealised on the ballroom dance floor, and so very awkward to choreograph in real life. — SR

“The latest from the rising Danish documentary new wave, this observational portrait of competitive ballroom dancers Slavik Kryklyvyy and Anna Melnikova starts out as a phoenix-from-the-ashes comeback story before (d)evolving into something much messier and more engrossing. Competing at such a high level is hard enough – try getting through it without wanting to disembowel your partner and lover. Although impossible to please for Melnikova, Kryklyvyy turns out to be a filmmaker's dream. Almost hyperbolically handsome, with diamond-cut cheekbones to outdo Johnny Depp, he’s a brooding matinee idol and self-destructive genius – a master craftsman undone by his own gloomy, preening perfectionism.” — Eric Hynes, Village Voice

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