“Show-Stopping Fun One Step at a Time!”
Angelina Ballerina: Twirling Tales is a collection of episodes based on the series Angelina Ballerina, which is a British show about a mouse that’s, you guessed it, a ballerina. These episodes are direct-to-video, however.
“Angelina’s Dance like a Cake Day”
Vici (Jules De Jongh) has a great idea–everyone should bake a cake and prepare a dance that is like the cake they make. But when Angelina’s (Charlotte Spencer) gingerbread cake flops, she has to find both a new dance and a new cake.
“Angelina’s Noisy, Messy Lunchtime”
When Angelina’s clumsiness prevents the dance class from being able to use the stage for practice, she invites everyone over to her attic to practice. However, instituting a “no rules” policy means very little rehearsing gets done.
“Angelina and the Musical Plant”
Angelina’s science project, keeping a plant alive, isn’t going so well. But once she learns her plant responds to music, things quickly turn around.
“Angelina and Her Parents’ Dance Lessons”
Angelina is surprised when her parents take up swing dancing. But they’re not very good at it and want to give up. Angelina decides she can help by becoming their new cheerleader, encouraging them to keep practicing so they’ll be able to participate in their class party.
“Angelina’s Mother’s Day”
Angelina is so caught up with her dancing she forgets that Mother’s Day is fast approaching and she hasn’t got anything for her mum (Emma Tate)! Luckily, there’re chores to be done around the house, which will serve as a lovely gift. Plus by employing the use of dynamics, Angelina is able to make the chores fun!
These episodes are little morality plays as opposed to stories that teach children counting, new words or the like. But they’re gently told and feature ballet, one of the earliest passions kids gravitate towards. The British accents may throw kids at first, but they’ll learn to listen and probably love the show even more for them. However the real selling point of this disc is the special features, specifically the “A Dance a Day Club,” which gives kids the opportunity to actually learn some ballet moves. This is a feature which adds value not only to the purchase but to the lives of the kids watching. Anything which encourages exercise earns a thumbs-up in my book.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen video transfer relies heavily on the CGI which litters the landscape of today’s children’s programs. The edges of everything are softly rounded and the palette is equally soft, populated with the pastels we associate with the world of dance, ballet in particular. There are three audio tracks, all Dolby Digital 2.0 in a variety of language options. Like the video they too are soft but not in a technically deficient way, rather it plays into the overall aesthetic of the disc.
I appreciate the special features included on Angelina Ballerina: Twirling Tales perhaps more than the episodes showcased. “A Dance a Day Club” teaches youngsters five ballet moves which are then incorporated into seven different dances, one for each day. There are plenty of opportunities to go back and re-learn the moves before and after attempting the dances alongside Angelina. Each day which is viewed earns the viewer a checkmark. Once all seven have been earned a certificate of completion pops up on screen. There are also two karaoke videos for two of the songs Angelina sings. They’re not as interesting as the dance club feature.
While I wish this had a longer runtime, I’m all for a disc that encourages kids to get up off the couch and exercise, even if it’s to attempt moves which would land many adults in the ER due to extreme lack of flexibility. Twirl on, Angelina!