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Shall We Dance?
Credits:In Japanese

At the start of Shall we Dance?, a Japanese businessman goes to a ballroom dancing school so furtively that he might be visiting a bordello. "In Japan, ballroom dancing is regarded with much suspicion," an opening title explains. Yet 42-year-old Shohel Sugiyama (Koji Yakuso) is so unsatisfied by his wife, child, house, car and accounting job in a sterile office that he desperately needs a change of pace.

Japan may not recognize ballroom dancing, but if Masayuko Suo's film is any evidence, it knows about mid-life crises set to music.

Though Sugiyama is first lured to the school by glimpsing a beautiful teacher, Mai (Tame Kasakari, a poised ballerina), through a window, he soon gets the swing of dancing itself. This button-down worker, prototypical of what the Japanese call a "salary man," becomes so reinvigorated by his new pursuit that he develops a secret case of happy feet at the office. "Wonder what cheered him up?" asks Sufiyama's wife, after her husband begins smiling again and comes home every Wednesday night with perfume on his shirt.

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