It’s an experience everyone can relate to: leaving the comfort of home to try to establish a life for yourself – the only thing is that Egor was only 15 years old.
When Danish director Katrine Phillip was given the assignment of making a documentary short on two ballroom dancers – one Dane and one Russian – she set up a meeting with the tandem.
It didn’t take long to for her to realise that a mere 15 minutes could not cover the depth of their story.
“I was immediately drawn to them. I just knew there was something special and magical about them,” Phillip told the Copenhagen Post.
“It’s not just a dance film – there’s a story behind the dance.”
Egor made the decision to leave his family and friends behind to pursue his passion, ballroom dancing, by pairing up with one of Denmark’s top ranked dancers, Mie.
Though he doesn’t admit it, Egor sorely misses his mother and the general Russian way of life, as he struggles to integrate into a Danish society that has a reputation of being difficult to penetrate.
He, along with the camera crew, is thrown into Mie’s home and forced to be a part of their family between training sessions and performances.
Life is suffering
One of the highlights of the film is the comparison between Russian and Danish culture.
Egor represents the classic Russian perfectionism and endless drive towards one’s goal – often at the cost of enjoying the ride – while Mie is the quintessentially happy, optimistic Dane.
This cultural difference is at its best when the tandem have intimate conversations about Egor’s struggles in adapting to Danish culture, as he talks about the nobility of suppressing emotions and his pursuit of perfection – an attitude that is unsettling coming from a 15-year-old with a squeaky voice.
So far, so good
Dance for me premiered in Denmark in 2012 and was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Since then, it has appeared at a series of film festivals – including Amsterdam’s prestigious International Documentary Film Festival, as well as the American Film Festival, at which it won the Audience Award.
‘Dance for me’ will premiere on PBS on Monday July 21 at 10pm.