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average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Apr 13, 2024

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Portia A. Buckley
Written by:
Michael Lindley, Portia A. Buckley
Brid Ni Neachtain, Katelyn Rose Downey, Jim Kitson, Aidan O'Hare

An elderly religious Irish dance instructor is hesitant about accepting a talented girl into her class.


Mrs Kelly (Neachtain) is a priest's housekeeper and she also takes care of the church and works at a school as a coach for an Irish stepdance class for girls. One day, after some persuasion, Kelly agrees to let an experienced young girl named Clodagh (Downey) join her class. After Clodagh watches the students perform, it is her turn and her dancing abilities greatly impress Kelly and Mr Hickey (Kitson), the violinist. Overwhelmed with what she saw, Kelly is very eager to train the new student. However, an unexpected discovery prevents Clodagh from doing so.


A lot of things are part of this short drama. The narrative utilises dancing and religion in order to tell a story about dreams, self-reflection, self-discipline, old age and inner struggles. The film is seen through Kelly's perspective and the conflict arises from her refusal to go against her beliefs so that she can let Clodagh join her class. The reason why Clodagh cannot be accepted is minor, nevertheless, Kelly seems unwilling to overlook it, yet simultaneously, she really wants it to happen and must face herself if she is to achieve what she wants.


Kelly is a is a person who strongly believes in never doing wrong, a discipline she obviously gained from a strict and religious upbringing. She has a passion for step-dancing, however the way she was raised prevented her from pursuing that activity. She now has a lonely life, living with a priest and she manages to find joy by teaching dancing. Kelly goes through significant character development and Neachtain plays the part remarkably well.


Step-dancing has a big role in this film, as the joys of this activity are felt by the protagonists. The scene where Clodagh dances is arguably the highlight of the film and that is due to the uplifting atmosphere and the filmmaking creativity. First of all, the choreography by Clare Watson and Lisa Watson is terrific and Downey puts on a great performance during the event and so does Kitson, playing the violin. Then, there is the camera movement that is quite impressive, especially with the arc shots, which along with Harry Cepka's speedy editing make the sequence quite lively. And finally, the scene would not have been this good had it to been for the music by Fergal Scahill.


On the surface, this is a story about dancing and religion. Deeper, it is a story about a woman's life that reaches a crucial point: having to decide whether she must remain royal to her perspectives or bend them slightly in order to gain. A beautiful and emotional short film that appears to carry a message that states that sometimes people need to pay the price in order to get what they want.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film
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