In Billy Elliott, explain how Billy is passionate about dance but shows signs of fighting his passion.  Examine the pressures that affect Billy in his home life.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The initial premise of Billy Elliot  is one where the passion of dance faces formidable challenge.  The family setting in which Billy lives is one where this challenge is evident.  Billy's father and brother are miners, following Everington expectation.  Billy's mother, one who might be able to provide nurturing and guiding defense of his dream, is not present.  Billy's Nan is incapacitated.  In this familial setting, there is greater challenge for Billy to pursue his dream of dancing.  

Economic conditions in the family play a challenging role for Billy to pursue his dream of dancing.  Both father and brother are striking miners, closed out of the mine and denied a chance to support the family economically. Nan's condition is another source where economics takes priority.  This setting is one where Billy's pursuit of study at the Royal Academy is clouded through economic reality.  

Finally, Billy faces social challenges in pursuing dance.  His brother and father do not want to see him become a "poof" and view dance in a derogatory manner.  They pose a challenge to his own condition of being due to their own notion that ballet dancing and homosexuality are synonymous with one another.  These become the social and cultural challenges that Billy faces in pursuit of his dream.  They help to fuel the fight both within him and outside of him.

The fight that Billy must endure to sustain his passion is one that encompasses all of these forces.  Billy realizes that dance is his passion, something that breathes meaning into a world that is devoid of it.  Billy has to fight through the social stigma he faces around him and the negative perceptions that his family holds regarding his dream. Billy's father is prototypical in seeking to remove his son's passion for dance:  "All right for your Nana, for girls. No, not for lads, Billy. Lads do football... or boxing... or wrestling. Not friggin' ballet."  

At the same time, when Billy has to defend his sexuality, it is an indication of the forces that weigh on his passion:  "Just because I like ballet doesn't mean I'm a poof, you know."  For Billy, the passion and feeling he feels about dancing represents a feeling of transcendence in a world of temporality:

Don't know. Sorta feels good. Sorta stiff and that, but once I get going... then I like, forget everything. And... sorta disappear. Sorta disappear. Like I feel a change in my whole body. And I've got this fire in my body. I'm just there. Flyin' like a bird. Like electricity. Yeah, like electricity.

This "electricity" is representative of his passion, of Billy's love, in a world that does not immediately validate it.  

Billy shows signs of fighting this passion at different points of the film because of all the negative forces that are weighing on him.  To a certain extent, the display of violence at the audition is reflective of this internal war that rages within him.  This fight is to defend his passion, but also representative of how external forces weigh on Billy.  He does not resolve this until he is certain that he has his family's support and his community's support in furthering his study at London.  The pressures that Billy feels in his home life and in the world that envelops him are the elements that advance the fight within him regarding his passion.  This is resolved as the film moves towards its conclusion.

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