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Flashdance: What a Feeling

As one of the most iconic and popular films of the 1980s, it's hard to believe that Flashdance originally received all-round negative reviews from professional critics. Yet, when the film was released in 1983, audiences flocked to see it and it became the third highest grossing film of that year in the USA and amassed a worldwide gross income of over $100 million.

Filmed mostly in Pittsburgh, the movie, directed by Adrian Lyne, was inspired by the life of a construction worker, Maureen Marder, who also worked as an exotic dancer. Maureen received a one-off payment by Paramount of $2,300 to use her life story, of which she later unsuccessfully attempted to claim more payment when the film became such a big money spinner.

In the movie, Jennifer Beals stars as Alex, an 18-year-old welder who aspires to become a professional dancer. By night, she works as an exotic dancer at a local grill. Lacking the confidence to apply to the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory, she eventually forms a bond with her welder employer Nick (played by Michael Nouri) who helps to get her an audition. By performing a number of dances, including breakdancing, Alex goes on to win a place at the prestigious dancing school.

The dance scenes aren't performed by Jennifer herself, but instead include body doubles such as a professional gymnast and even the male breakdancing supremo, Crazy Legs.

Dancing aside, it was the music in the flick that won audiences over. The theme tune, Flashdance...What a Feeling, was written and performed by Irene Cara. She claimed to have penned the track in just a matter of minutes. The song was a number one hit in 1983 and went on to win an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1984. Irene also sang the theme tune from the 1980 film, Fame.

Although not as popular as the Flashdance theme tune, another song from the film, Maniac, received an Academy Award nomination.

The Flashdance soundtrack album also enjoyed great success, selling an impressive 700,000 copies in its first couple of weeks of release. It also earned the accolade of Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special in 1984.

Crucially, the presentation style of music videos in the film, rather than being a musical as such, inspired the new genre of filmmaking evident in movies such as Footloose, Top Gun and Purple Rain. It's thought the music videos in Flashdance even influenced the creation of music channel MTV.

Although talks of a film sequel and Broadway adaptation never came to light, a musical adaptation, Flashdance The Musical, premiered in the UK in 2008. The tour currently runs from May until October 2018, at venues across the UK.

If you've been inspired by the dancing in Flashdance, you'll appreciate how important it is to have the right studio space to perform your routines, safely and comfortably. At Coruba, you can find a wide range of high-quality rubber matting solutions that are ideal for dance studios.

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