During the workweek, Leonard Augustus Jr. works as an education program consultant for the Louisiana Department of Education. However, he’s best known throughout the Greater Baton Rouge area as a dancer and actor who gives unselfishly of his time and talent to numerous causes, including the Big Buddy Program, the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre, Theater Baton Rouge, Sexual Trauma & Assault Response and the Arc of East Ascension. This week, he’s picking his top five dance-themed movies.
“There are numerous dance documentaries that have changed my life, but since you asked for five dance-themed movies, here you go … in no particular order,” Augustus said.
1. “Flashdance” (1983)
“I work and dance, so I loved the concept that a person could lead a double life and one of those lives be dance that evokes athleticism with a release of soul and heart. Dance saves her.”
2. “White Nights” (1985)
“Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov dancing together was the most unlikely pairing. I was concerned about it at first, but it worked beautifully and broadened my awareness of possibilities.”
3. “A Chorus Line” (1985)
“I had the chance to perform in the stage version of this show, so I could relate to the movie in a personal way. It gives the viewer an inside look at what a dancer goes through during an audition coupled with the dynamics of emotional, physical, group and individual competitiveness.”
4. “Staying Alive” (1983)
“Cynthia Rhodes is one of my favorite dancers. I fell in love with John Travolta’s costume, and the fact that he was undertrained but still able to do choreography that I personally enjoy. I was also pleasantly surprised by Finola Hughes’ performance.
5. “Chicago” (2002)
“Anything featuring Bob Fosse’s choreography gets my vote.”