"The Favourite" featuring Rachel Weisz and Joe Alwyn

We've been talking about dance in the film world a lot lately. And while there's absolutely a time and place to analyze movies that are specifically about dance, I think there's also a time and place to get excited about seeing a little taste of dance, no matter how small, on the big screen. With that said... is anyone else feeling royally blessed by the royal dance off in the new movie “The Favourite?” It’s truly quirky and brilliantly awkward all at once, which is totally the point! The movie itself is bizarre, completely untoward, and perhaps purposefully awkward. Which is why the dance scene is everything plus a bag of chips (err... box of popcorn)! 

Picture a Victorian ballroom, an extravagant party, beautiful people dressed in their finest ballgowns and white curly wigs, while a harpsichord resonates in the background. The Victorian party goers standing around two of the honored guests, who unexpectedly deliver a choreographed dance that is beyond time and space... literally. You know what - you should probably just watch it yourself in theaters, because you do not want to miss Rachel Weisz and Joe Alwyn shake it down on the big screen. But be prepared to pay attention, because the scene, even though it's just a few minutes long, manages to squeeze in an ode to just about every genre of dance. Berlin-based choreographer Constanza Macras blends traditional court dance, vogue, street style, ballet, modern, contemporary, and beyond. It’s like an homage to dance styles of throughout the ages and it totally nails it. And you, as a dancer, will be able to identify each of these styles and might find the mashup (and the incredibly deadpan and intense way they perform it) as hilarious as I did!  

We "wanted something that is period but is not period,” Macras said in an interview with Vulture. “I also like that it’s not looking like dance. It’s dance, anyway, but it’s not formal.” With a 94% score on Rotten Tomatoes and critics raving about the film, it’s certainly hard to see how someone would dislike the movie and it’s unique style. However, there could be some disagreement with the way the dance styles are portrayed in almost a laughable way. It’s definitely a part of the film's whimsical nature, but there might be dance historians and technicians who do not dig the wild interpretation.

About the author

Keira Whitaker is a dedicated teacher, performer, and choreographer, who has been dancing for the past 21 years. She recently graduated from the University of California Irvine with a BFA in Dance performance and a minor in English.