Movie Review: 'Dance With Me'
A love of dancing is, obviously, what separates folks who know how to live from those who merely breathe on a daily basis. Saturday Night Fever taught us this; so did Shall We Dance?, Zorba the Greek, Dirty Dancing, and that scene in Titanic where the steerage-class passengers get happy feet and inspire Rose to kick off her constricting upper-class shoes. In Dance With Me, a seductive, summery diversion from director Randa Haines (Children of a Lesser God), the potent romantic fantasy moves to a Latin beat. And once again, the rhythm-equals-soul equation works, not least because Haines makes the dance floor look like the friendliest of melting pots.
As an instructor at a Houston dance school (run by leathery old boot Kris Kristofferson) and single mother who’s been burned romantically by her villainish former partner, coolly gorgeous Vanessa Williams plays on the uptight-and-in-need-of-you- know-what persona that has become her dramatic (and comedic) forte. She moves efficiently but in a by-the-book way that has nothing on the sexy ba-da-bing of the hotly gorgeous Cuban fellow (Puerto Rican star Chayanne) who works as a handyman — and who can, of course, slither like a dream. The story is as predictable as an evening of Sábado Gigante. But Haines has a fine sense of salsa appeal, and makes Latin nightclubing look like a reason to live. B