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Episode four of Welcome To The Ballroom brings the passion. It does this, of course, with the first Tango we see in the series. (What else would suffice?)
The competition continues, and Kiyoharu confronts Tatara about dancing with Shizuku in his place. Initially unbeknownst to the rest of the cast, this lights a fire within Kiyoharu, and despite his injuries, he takes the floor once more for their Tango heat.
The series then takes an interesting stance on what makes a good dance. Kiyoharu has always been portrayed as skilled and hard-working, but this is the first time we see passion from him. Everyone immediately notices. Sengoku and Tatara notice, Shizuku is floored, and the audience watches with wide eyes and open mouths. True, raw dedication to dance exposes equally true, raw emotions—and we see Kiyoharu and Shizuku receive a standing ovation in the semi-finals for it.
The animation reflects Kiyoharu’s new perspective several times, with some interesting visual metaphors. But it brings to mind something your teacher will likely tell you to strive for time and time again: he has presence on the dance floor.
Of course, this is a competition, and since they bent the rules to get Tatara onto the floor in the last episode, this comes back to bite them in the butt. With a six-month suspension, Kiyoharu is forced to take time to recuperate, and Shizuku is left without a partner (and the complicated feelings that come with all that happened).
Dancing while injured is nothing to take lightly, even for a competition. Sengoku is mad that Kiyoharu kept his injury to himself, and in fact tried to get him disqualified by throwing Tatara into the Waltz in his place. (This is why communication with your dance instructors, partners, and fellow students is vital! Entertaining to watch, but let’s be real, actual drama is nothing anyone wants.) Dance can help with some kinds of injuries and body issues, helping strengthen muscle, increase mobility, and even sharpen the mind, but this is something that should be talked over with a doctor (and your instructor), not sneakily hidden while hoping it goes away.
With Kiyoharu temporarily out of the picture, on crutches, suspension, and the wrong train, he tells Tatara to “take care of Shizuku” for him.
Our confused protagonist doesn’t exactly understand, at least not until we get a glimpse of future characters—one of whom swaggers into the studio and demands that Shizuku become his new professional partner.
Continue with the next episode here!