Dancing Like Billy Elliot
The film "Billy Elliot" is one of the most inspiring films of all time and one of my favourites.
It was made in 2000 and stars Jamie Bell as a young aspiring dancer growing up in a north-eastern English town during the miners' strike of 1984-85.
There are two reasons why I like this film. The first is that the location is not far from where I live. It reflects many of the characteristics of my part of the world. The second reason why I love this film is that it is a story about how we all have an inner gift which, no matter where we live or how we are brought up, compels us to bring to life. In Billy Elliot's case, this is a gift for ballet dancing, a gift that, despite his own reservations and uncertainties and his family's hostility, eventually shines through.
For me, there is a truth to this film for the Billy Elliots in all of us and one scene brings this home to me. It is a scene when, having won over his father, the 11-year-old Billy goes to London to audition at the Royal Ballet School.
Nothing goes to plan. Billy and his father feel out-of-place in the imposing surroundings of the Royal Ballet, with the result that Billy strikes a fellow auditionee.
At his final audition, when all looks lost, Billy dances erratically but with passion and as he turns to leave, one of the panel asks him, "Billy, what does it feel like when you're dancing?"
Billy stops and slowly replies, "Dunno. It sort of feels good... It's sort of safe and that... But once I get going, I sort of forget everything. I sort of disappear. I can feel a change in my whole body. I'm just there... I have this fire in my whole body. I'm flying...like a bird. Like electricity... Yeah, like electricity."
Billy wins his place at the Royal Ballet and goes on to become a top dancer of the ballet corps.
The poignancy of the story is that, while his father and brother's whole way of communal life down the pit are ending because of the strike, Billy's life is only just starting.
The message I get from "Billy Elliot" is that we all have an inner electricity in our souls that thrills us and that we need to bring to light and life. It is not our educational attainments, nor our experiences, qualifications, or backgrounds that determine what we do with our lives. It's the electricity in our souls.
And even Billy's dad and brother can find it again.
Here is the clip from the "Billy Eliot" movie in which Billy describes at his ballet school audition what it feels like when he dances.
For a set of all 12 clips from the "Billy Elliot" movie, click here.