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Into the World

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Challenges and barriers often obstruct/influence the achievement of goals which bring about growth and change. However, with courage and determination these barriers/challenges/obstacles can be overcome and new horizons and possibilities are realised. For an individual to move along a new pathway in life, the support and guidance of others is needed to help overcome obstacles they may come across. This transition through new experiences impacts on ones understanding of ‘self’ as they are growing up with new perspectives of a broader world.

This transition can be seen in Steven Daldry’s, “Billy Elliot”, as it shows the experiences of individuals ‘moving into the world’ and how it is through their determination that enables each character to begin their transition. Several characters, including Billy Elliot, face significant obstacles going into the world. These obstacles can be characterised into internal/personal and external obstacles and in the case of Billy Elliot include society’s expectation, gender and male stereotypes.

Daldry has portrayed how Billy dances to save himself and his family from a challenging life. Billy challenges the external obstacle of society’s expectation based on gender during this era, as he rebels against male stereotypes and follows his passion for dance. Billy’s transition is represented through a series of visual and dialogue driven scenes. The family is opposed to the idea of Billy moving into the world of dance as they are bounded by traditional belief that “lads do boxing, wrestling or football, not freakin’ ballet! Internal influences also challenge a move into the world.

Billy’s dance routine at the audition for the Royal Ballet School had a sense of power and entertainment about it but it’s also full of strong metaphors for Billy’s desperation to escape his claustrophobic community and domestic situation. This routine was somewhat created during the Mrs. Wilkinson’s confrontation with the Elliot’s. Billy dances as he relieves the ugly confrontation he had just witnessed.

Frustrated and feeling powerless, he performs a routine that allows him to vent his anger. He jumps against a brick wall in an obvious representation of his struggles to escape. Billy cannot escape his ugly memories any more than he can escape the confines of his physical world. His rooftop dance symbolises his eventual freedom and suggests that one day he will escape the confines of his narrow world. Even though Billy struggles to express himself verbally, he has the ability to express himself through dance.

External influences also challenge a move into the world. This can be seen through Lyndall Hough’s, “The Shooting Kid”. The individual within the “shooting kid” faces external influences which challenges her reality of her world. The shooting kid is given opportunities which challenge her movement and acceptance of what she perceives to be her reality. Through her shooting expedition with the ‘grown ups’ she is challenged to face the real world.

The external influence of shooting, being predominantly a male activity, challenges her. This is evident through her realisation of reality in her “terrible crying” of shooting the rabbit and the alliteration of “the dull black barrel” as the imagery around her changes dramatically. This shows the transition of the shooting kid entering a new world due to the external influences of the shooting trip. She evidently accepts the new world of shooting after being challenged.

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