Preparations are well underway for the annual recital at the Merriman dance studio. Busy as Cyd Merriman (Brooke Nevin) is with wedding plans to her High School sweetheart, she’s still trying to push herself to achieve more than there’s hours in a day. Inheriting the family business after her mother’s death, Cyd thinks of selling the studio to a local land broker following a substantial offer from a company who plans to modernize her small hometown. Finally thinking she may realize her full potential by going to school and becoming a family therapist, she seriously considers it. It all becomes a little less certain when she learns from her mother’s best friend and local lawyer Laura Williams (Roma Downey) that her mother left part of the studio to the father she never knew about, let alone met. Tanner Gray (John Schneider) has been a drifter his entire life but has been as clueless as Cyd about her existence. Instead of simply signing a form relinquishing his rights, he appears on Cyd’s doorstep opening old wounds and questioning his past.
Two well-known stars from popular shows of the past makes this title one of the more pleasant little indulgences in a while. Believe it or not the dancing is more “professional” and lovely to watch than one would imagine and it carries the film well. The scenes of Cyd teaching her classes of beginner students are precious – one in particular is well-filmed and will leave even the most cynical with a smile. However the adult classes are equally entertaining and cover not only the classics like ballroom, jazz or the tango, but even feature a fun sequence of line dancing, complete with good ol’ western music. The atmosphere is even moderately adept; if the actors who are supposed to be trained in the art aren’t, they were well practiced in the few scenes. Suffice to say, everything looks pretty when need be. The only disappointment in that department were the dances at the wedding – neither one was anything special, but then they were meant to show a kind of happy glow that had been desired without knowing it was missing. No matter what it still makes for a pretty picture.
Indifferent to a somewhat “blah” title that perhaps wouldn’t normally entice an abundant audience, this is a delightful piece of filming. The small town charm creates a good basis’ for the overall setting and the characters complete that to bring it all to life. Everyone gave a heartfelt performance that nearly make us forget any silly moments among an otherwise strong story that has values and moral character, something many movies are lacking in abundance today. During a quiet evening when nothing of any consequence is of interest, this is one dance invitation there’s no shame in accepting.
(Parental concerns: Cyd references her honeymoon a time or two with some winking references – another reference is made to an unmarried couple living together. Classmates make fun of a chubby young girl who cannot master dance steps properly. The theme is one of secrets. Two men share a beer. It rates PG.)