The Forbidden Dance

(aka Lambada: The Forbidden Dance, Greydon Clark, USA, 1990)


American media critic Andrew Ross once suggested that Twin Peaks inaugurated a series of camp comedy-dramas dealing with ecological questions.

If so, The Forbidden Dance is surely the inadvertent masterpiece of that genre.

Deep in the throes of a sensual, primal ritual, an Amazon tribe is rudely interrupted by an evil, cowboy-like developer. Princess Nisa (former Miss USA Lisa Herring) knows she must immediately travel to Los Angeles to win support for the endangered rain forest.

After encountering the wicked Western world, she realises that her best bet is to win a Lambada dance contest on national television.

Films about short-lived dance crazes have a special fascination for students of popular culture. This film has it all: a high concept plot, Jose Feliciano, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, safe sex jokes, primitive lovemaking scenes, multiculturalism …

Even the villain of the piece is eventually lured into the forbidden dance.

© Adrian Martin May 1992

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
home    reviews    essays    search