A sense of place is a combination of characteristics that make a place unique and distinctive. A sense of place in the world indefinitely leady to belonging. Expression of ones true self enables an individual to inherit freedom. However this freedom is readily available an individuals face barriers of social and cultural expectations. Baz Lurhmann’s satirical film ‘Strictly Ballroom’ (1992) and Tohby Riddle’s whimsical picture book ‘No body owns the moon” embrace freedom of expression as a tool to fund a sense of place and ultimately belong to the wider world.
Self-expression is a fundamental characteristic of sense of place, which is heightened from belonging. Not everyone in the world will have a sense of place but if they are passionate they will succeed and find a definitive sense of belonging. Lurhmann’s deliberate crafting of mis-en-scene exposes the lighting when Scott dances alone in the studio. The spotlight on Scott reveals the studio is a place for him to feel supported and express his own steps. Conversely the dark lighting in contrast with the spotlight symbolises Scott’s isolation from the ballroom world as he rejects conformity and stands alone. Lurhmann’s creative camera angle captures the three mirrors in the dance studio, symbolising Scott’s confusion about the controversy of his own ‘flashy crowd pleasing steps’ this adds to his seclusion from the ballroom world and drives his dramatic expression of feelings through dance. Scott’s steps not only connect him to the dance studio, but also enrich his identity to feel a sense of ownership to his steps. It is clear that Lurhmann believes the opportunity to find a sense of place in the world and ultimately establish a sense of belonging derives from an individual’s ability to truly express one’s true self.
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