La La Land: We went to bootcamp to learn how to dance like Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling

Damien Chazelle's Oscar-winning film sparked a musical hysteria that's seen the demand for dance, singing, and piano lessons spike

Clarisse Loughrey
Thursday 23 March 2017 17:37 GMT

The magic of the movies – enchanting enough that, sometimes, it’s hard not to wish we could tumble straight into that celluloid world. That’s especially true of La La Land, Damien Chazelle’s daring mix of Old Hollywood nostalgia and striking modernism; all stirred together into one toe-tapping, soul-elevating dedication to dreamers everywhere.

It’s an infectious one, certainly; sending fans straight to microphones, pianos, and tap shoes everywhere. Local service marketplace reported a whopping 129% increase in demand for dance classes, together with a 60% increase in singing and piano lessons. It’s as if everyone’s just trying to capture a little slice of Mia and Seb, the characters played with such spectacular onscreen charisma by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

To celebrate, Bidvine and City Academy teamed up to host a special ‘La La Land Bootcamp’; which I, in wild hope I’d roll out the other end with an Oscar for Best Actress and the weight of Warren Beatty’s guilt, attended to take the whole musical star shebang for a spin.

I arrive at the bootcamp’s Islington location for what turns out to be the second class of the day; I’m told it’s just a little quieter than the previous, which hit right in the middle of the office lunch rush and saw the fairly compact dance studio packed with nearly 100 attendees. If I wasn't fully aware of how much people love La La Land before, it's demonstrably clear now. I’m secretly glad, though, as the room seems already pretty much full, and I’m praying for minimal witnesses to the catastrophe my two left feet are about to create.

Yet, I’m surprised by just how relaxed and jovial the atmosphere is, like we’ve stumbled across the promised land of judgement-free zones you seem only to read about in gym brochures but never have the luck to experience in real life. Maybe that’s the power of La La Land, as something of this gathering felt fuelled by that little adventurous spark all true dreamers possess.

Normally, the prospect of being paired up with a woman who swiftly introduces herself as a former dancer would catapult me straight into a major panic zone, but, soon, both amateur and professional are giggling away as we heel/toe our way into learning the routine from one of the film’s sweetest scenes, ‘What a Lovely Night’, which sees Mia and Seb tap dance against a backdrop of a perfect LA sunset.

The sunset was missing certainly, and so was my Ryan Gosling – albeit for the cardboard cutout someone had brought to smirk knowingly at everyone in the room – but after a 45-minute session of carefully working through the choreography, I was surprised by how much I’d actually learned in such a relatively short time. Enough, certainly, that I could breeze through the routine with the haze of flair that, just for a brief moment, made me believe that, just maybe, the movies could be my new home.

So, any word on La La Land 2 then, Damien Chazelle? I’ve got my audition tape at the ready.

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