Vyacheslav "Slavik" Kryklyvyy in Ballroom Dancer.
By Don Simpson
Vyacheslav “Slavik” Kryklyvyy is an award-winning ballroom dancer who comes out of a long retirement to compete alongside Ania Melnikova, a much younger female partner with whom he is also in a relationship. Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed’s keenly observational documentary, Ballroom Dancer, proceeds to discuss the tug of war between age and competitiveness, when one’s body can no longer keep up with the lofty ego of one’s self. Kryklyvyy may prance around like a peacock, but in actuality he is no longer in control of his own destiny. It used to be that Kryklyvyy could do whatever he wanted on the dance floor, but now Kryklyvyy’s 34-year-old body is holding him back.
Along the same lines, Kryklyvyy’s partners used to obey his every whim. But modern women -- including Melnikova -- are less inclined to put up with his patronizing and machismo attitude. It is as if Kryklyvyy has been in a time-capsule for most of his retirement. And since Kryklyvyy last stepped out on the dance floor, the roles of men and women have changed.
Pushing onward despite innumerable hurdles, Kryklyvyy must face frustration and depression head-on. Kryklyvyy is still great, but will he ever be the greatest? Will Kryklyvyy ever be able to consider something less than number one to be a success?