Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Shadow Dancing

US/Canadian movie (1988). Shapiro Glickenhaus. Pr Kay Bachman. Exec pr Don Haig, Robert Phillips. Dir Lewis Furey. Spfx Frank Carere. Vfx Light & Motion Corp. Screenplay Christine Foster. Starring James Kee (Paul), Gregory Osborne (Philip Crest), Christopher Plummer (Edmund Beaumont), Kay Tremblay (Sophie Beaumont), Nadine van der Velde (Jessica Blake/Liliane La Nuit). 100 mins. Colour.

An accident disables the lead female artiste of a modern-dance troupe, and mediocre but convenient tyro Jessica is taken on instead. Instantly she is "recognized" by the parrot now owned by theatre-owner Edmund but once owned by long-ago murdered dancer Liliane La Nuit, a Jessica lookalike whom he doomedly loved. On hearing Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade Jessica undergoes the first of several, increasingly long Identity Exchanges, in the process becoming a superb dancer. It is soon evident that she has become possessed by the spirit of dead Liliane, who destroyed the lives of most around her. Jessica has difficulty convincing boyfriend Paul that she is not having an affair with choreographer and troupe star Crest; although in fact she (i.e., Liliane) is. History seems set to repeat itself . . .

One of the cluster of movies in the late 1980s and early 1990s mixing Ghosts/Possession and sex – Ghost (1990) was the box-office peak of the trend – SD is a minor but not unrespectable offering, aided by some spectacularly staged modern dance (choreography by Timothy Spain; participation by members, including Osborne, of the National Ballet of Canada). The over-baroque plot doesn't quite make sense, but comes close enough to satisfy. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.