At 15, Egor is a beautiful dancer. At 14, Mie is also a beautiful dancer. Pairing the two should result in something special, which the documentary “Dance for Me” tries to capture.
The POV selection, airs on PBS Monday, July 21 (check local listings), and was an official selection of the 2013 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
Filmmaker Katrine Philp had tremendous access and captures Egor’s moodiness and Mie’s calculations.
The teenagers are a duo to be reckoned with when they take the dance floor.
Egor is Russian and had been living with his family in China, where his dad is a soldier with the Russian Army, and his mom had been a dance teacher.
He moves to Denmark, to live with Mie and her mom, to train for competitions. The film follows them as they practice, in their limited downtime and when they compete. Both are only children, not accustomed to having another around. They talk to each other in English, though they speak with their moms in their native languages.
The two look terrific together, and are completely focused on what happens on the dance floor. When they dance, they seem older, more in control. He has a languid way of moving, with an arched back. She is very precise in her moves and specializing in Latin ballroom dance. They understand relentless practice, and are far more serious than most teens.
Egor only genuinely smiles 37 minutes into the film, after they won an important contest. Both are fired up to win, not merely place.
Denmark has a vibrant and competitive ballroom dance culture and turns out a lot of internationally ranked dancers.
“Sometimes I get crazy before the competition,” Egor says. “But when the competition begins I get serious, too serious.” He is quiet, withdrawing into himself as the camera chronicles the months of being a stranger in a strange land. But the moment they step onto the floor, Mie in fake eyelashes that look as if they could be walked on a leash, and he in a fake tan, are all business.