Posts Tagged ‘Pierre Dulaine’

Pierre and Antonio

Antonio and Pierre

When I was writing the other day about the movie Take The Lead, I got curious about Mr. Dulaine’s work and filosofy. “It was just an experiment,” he said.

But … he knew it would work: he himself  started dancing at the age of 14 and says it transformed him from a shy young man who rarely smiled into a confident adult with flair.

“I walked straight. I had savoir faire [expertise],” he says of his transformation. He became world champion show dancer four times.

Later on in life he saw this expierence should be passed on to children to learn vital skills like confidence and respect. That’s why he came up with the idea to use ballroom dancing as a tool.

“In the ballroom, when you touch someone with respect you become human beings,” he says. “You’re no longer a white or a black person, Hispanic, Palestinian, or Chinese. You become human.”

In 2005 they’ve made a documentary about it : Mad Hot Ballroom which became the inspiration for Take The Lead.

The Methode

Mad Hot Ballroom

Documentary 2005

  • Respect and Compassion; ballroom dancing can only be carried out by Ladies and Gentlemen. Thats why every participant knows how to behave. This includes trainers too, because not all addults have grown up nice and smoothely.
  • In the moment; everybody needs to focus fully when taking a lesson or teaching. In that way teachers understand their pupils initiutively.
  • Safe places; in ballrooms everyone is respected equally.
  • Order and Discipline; teachers are in command of their classes and use group dynamics to cherish every individual.
  • [body] Language; entire attitude is one of openness, warmth, and genuine affection for the children.
  • Humor and Joy; Humor is perhaps the most difficult, yet powerful teaching tool for a teacher to master. Gentle humor can help a shy child become less self-conscious; humor with that same child handled poorly can make him or her permanently retreat. They are playful, they are present, and the children can sense they are just plain happy to be with them.

“Being in such a safe place, where the boundaries are clear, the Teaching Artist is fully present, where respect and compassion reign – these are the elements that bring joy into the lives of the Dancing Classrooms children.”

Taking the Lead

Who’s Leading Who?

Take The Lead is a movie about dance teacher Pierre Dulaine who learns a group of kids to dance like stars. It may be obvious these kids face a lot of hardship in life. They are so called ‘problem kids’, but who wants to wear such a name with proud? Somewhere in the first quarter of the movie, teacher Antonio invites his dance partner Anna Rosh to come over. She walks down the stairs, starts up her music and starts dancing. But …  it takes two to tango. Although not ready he jumps in and they dance! Obviously, one of the more inspirational ones I’ve seen.

The tango in Scent of a Woman does the trick because Al Pacino played a blind man. An I quote Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade here: No mistakes in the tango, not like life. Simple, that’s what makes tango so great. You make a mistake… get all tangled up… just tango on.

Scent of a Woman

Scent of a Woman

Take The Lead is based on the real work of Pierre Dulaine, the story is retold and placed in  this time. When Anna started dancing during the Tango Scene, Antonio got this attitude like: ‘so you wanna dance, okay, I can do that …’ Most dances men take the lead and the women follow, but this was more like; ‘show me what you got’. And by doing so, they together inspire the youngsters who are watching. They start working hard and become better dancers themselves.

Transformational leadership triggers the motivation and performance of followers. 

  • Being a role model for followers inspires them and makes them interested. 
  • Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of followers, so they can improve bit by bit. 
  • Connecting the follower’s sense of identity and self to the path to take
  • Challenging followers to take greater ownership for their effort.
street tango

tango doorsteps Buenos Aires

Step out

Let’s step out and screen on the role models of this movie for a bit. Pierre Duvalain was a refugee from Palestine and Egypt. And started dancing when he was 14 in England. He developed the Dulaine method.

Antonio Banderas came as a poor young man to the film studio’s of Madrid and made it all the way up to Puss in Boots.

Anna Rosh came from Ukraine, but moved to SaintPetersburg. Anna become a winner of a local dance competition, and a few years later Saint-Petersburg champion and Russian national finalist multiple times in latin dance. For almost a decade, Anna was competed and won International ballroom events in Europe.