“Dancers are the athletes of God.” Albert Einstein was on to something as any fan of theater arts and dance will tell you.
Network television has built a niche of showcasing the ambition and struggle of dancers fighting to win a coveted trophy and title as “the best dancer” of the season. Many time we see amazingly talented performers that are in their prime, but what we don’t see is their beginnings. We don’t’ get to see the struggles and sacrifices they and their families go though to get to the point of auditioning and being selected in shows like “So You Think You Can Dance,” “World of Dance” and such.
This is why when films like I Dream of Dance come along, you must take the time to go to the theater and watch them. If you’ve ever tuned into “So You Think You Can Dance”, you are very familiar with the name Travis Wall. The two time Emmy winning choreographer made his mark and name in this very show during it’s second season. He did not win that year but, can you remember the person who did? Travis’ genius talent was recognized as the second place dancer became a choreographer for the show for which he’s earned 8 Emmy nominations so far. His emotive and gut wrenching pieces have become iconic in the dance world and to fans. Bringing out the best in fellow dance friends like Allison Holker with the heart wrenching piece, “Fix You.”
This genius was inherited from none other than legendary dance teacher Denise Wall, owner of Denise Wall Dance Studio, who has fostered generations of talented dancers, her son amongst them. In this documentary, the cameras follow Denise Wall as she takes her students through the grueling road to Nationals.
Nothing comes easy when your passion is dance. This is abundantly clear as we see interviews with some of her students and their families. From being part of bi-coastal families, working 7 days a week to fund school tuition and dealing with family illnesses, every dancer has a story and a struggle. Every student has a goal and a drive that leads them to give their 150%, spend over 40 hours a week in dance lessons and traveling to competitions in hopes of winning scholarships to fund their dream dance schools.
On the flip side, we see how Denise herself has gone the extra mile, first to keep her family going as a single mother then to being her own studio to life. Even now, she spends hours at the studio being there for her students (who see her as a second mom) both emotionally and technically. She strives to bring out the best in all of them as well as pushing them to give their all.
I Dream of Dance does a magnificent job of truly taking you behind the scenes of the world of competitive dance. Not everything goes as planned, not everyone wins and not everyone’s dreams come true. The film crew lets viewers see the genius mind of Travis Wall at work as he choreographs multiple dances in only two days’ time. From selecting the music to working with the students to bring out their best and push them to strive for more. He choreographs to their strengths and elevates them to higher levels of artistry.
Seeing the performances at Nationals will bring tears to your eyes as the dances are split between training and competition performances. The students all emote such raw passion and energy you can’t help but hold your breath as you await to see if they have moved on from one round to the next. You will shed tears as you re-live a very emotional piece Travis choreographed and dedicated to his mother many years ago and you will cheer as you see the least expected outcomes in competition.
All in all, I Dream of Dance is a must see not only for for dance lovers and dancers alike, but also for any fan of talent, artistry and passion. Be sure to check out the film as it becomes available to own October 2nd and comes to on Demand October 9th. If you live in or near Virginia, you can still get tickets to attend the premiere on September 30th.
I Dream of Dance is directed by Maria Demeshkina Peek and features Travis Wall, Denise Wall, Allison Holker, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Jason Parsons, Hallie Green, Trinity Bonilla, Anthony Kelly, Anessa Zivic, Jordan Gaskin, Morgan Higgins and Wyeth Walker.