The bed dance. Three words, and a whole story is told right there. I'd never heard "Dreaming With a Broken Heart" before seeing the original performance of this, but it immediately went on the playlist I have for my I Would Know You manuscript. There's a raw, unbearable emotion that plays across the man's face as well as the movements of his body, testament to tWitch's (aka Stephen Boss) acting skill. He hits us hard with the pure, unadulterated grief too many of us know too well, capturing that moment between sleep and waking, that moment of remembering a loved one is gone. That desperate reaching. Angstbunny me clamped right onto that, and it was as pure a picture as I could see of my tormented hero, Anthony's longing for his believed-dead Christine.
This could have worked as a solo, highlighting the man's aloneness, but when the woman, the shade of his beloved, appears behind the bed, sliding into it, but still out of his reach, angh, my heart. Add to that her own frustration - does she, too, want to be next to him once more, but can only look? Then we have rose petals exploding everywhere, the lyrics with that it-makes-sense-in-grief question of the man grasping at even giving her gifts in his dream, and reality crashes in. No, she's gone. I dissolve at the sequence that starts at 1:15 below. All it takes is the eye contact to hear the entire conversation. No, she's not back. Yes, she's really gone. Yes, he has to live on without her. No, she didn't want to go. Yes, this sucks. It's raw and it's bleeding and it's gorgeous.
I have to admit to being really curious as to who would essay this dance in the new version. Dareian and Janelle, again, have very different physical types from Kherington and tWtich, which does help differentiate the two performances. I liked that Mia tailored the choreography to showcase the dancers. Dareian's spin at 2:40 was gorgeous, another rip my heart out moment. I do appreciate Janelle sharing that this dance came at a pertinent time in her life. Method dancing? Could be. Dance begins at 1:35:
I got a different feel from this performance, more vulnerable than raw, but still very effective. Dareian gave the male character an everyman quality. This is our brother, our friend, our neighbor, and this is one night of many he's alone with his pain. He'll get through the day all right, but the night, well, that's rough.
The female character was a bit harder for me to grasp. First, that's part of the story. She's dead, for one thing. Second, while Janelle has really gorgeous curls, for me, that obscured some of the facial expressions that convey the character and relationship. The soulful eye contact in the original becomes a gentle head shake. Still a sad "no, I'm not here," and a valid acting/choreograpic choice, but I missed the facial expression. Especially since this is far different from Janelle's usual dance persona. This couple feels younger to me, and can make it a sweeter ache.
Now for the split screen, courtesy of jroxy13:
What I found most interesting here was who I watched, and when, given the chance to see both routines at the same time. tWitch and Kherington have me one hundred percent at the eye contact, but when Dareian does his spin, then I'm there 100% as well. For me, tWitch's character was bleeding his pain, Dareian's soldiering on, and they both have me. My notes say "the original is the movie; the remake is the tv series." The same heart is there, but one is bigger, one quieter, both effective. What about you?