Review: Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks

Gena Rowlands

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks stars Gena Rowlands. That was all I needed to know about the 2014 film to pick it out of a dismal collection of male-dominated newly added films on Amazon Prime.

Spoilers ahead.

Cheyenne Jackson and Gena Rowlands in Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks

The story involves Lily (Rowlands), who hires a dance instructor to come to her lovely Florida high rise apartment and give her six dance lessons in six weeks. Michael, the dance instructor, is beautifully played by Cheyenne Jackson.

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks is one of those sweet movies where almost everything is predictable and the resolution is a mostly happy one. There are a few surprises along the way. From the moment Michael steps into the life of cranky old Lily, you know they will be good for each other. As the six weeks pass, each with its new dance steps, the two develop a bond and slowly get to know each other’s secrets.

Cheyenne Jackson and Gena Rowlands dance in Lily's apartment

Rita Moreno plays Ida, Lily’s downstairs neighbor. Ida calls and complains about the noise during every dance lesson. She has a son named Robert (Simon Miller).

The dance studio Michael works for is owned by Winslow (Julian Sands), a greedy man who thinks of dancers as payments, not people. Susie (Kathleen Rose Perkins) works at the dance studio and supports Michael against his boss when needed. Michael gets hired to teach Irene (Jacki Weaver), which supplies some comedic moments.

Arthur Allan Seidelman directed the film. The film was based on a stage play which was for only two characters.

Gena Rowlands has been nominated twice for Oscars, but never won. Her nominations were for Woman Under the Influence and Gloria. Last week she was awarded an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement. Born in 1930, she’s 85 years old. About damn time this amazing actress got an Oscar. She’s won three Emmys.

If you’re looking for a film with heartwarming charm and gentle humor, look no further. However, the film is not all cotton candy fluff. There’s some serious material here. Lily was the wife of a Southern Baptist minister. Michael is gay. And many years ago, Lily lost a child because of her husband’s beliefs. These matters create the underlying, hidden backbone of the film.

The Trailer

You can watch an hour long conversation with Gena Rowlands and Arthur Allan Seidelman about Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks on YouTube.

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