“I Want to Dance!”

  • I Want to Dance!”–  Bunty:  #1275 (19 June 1982) – #1291 (09 October 1982)
  • Artist: Cándido Ruiz Pueyo  (also used the pseudonym Emilia Prieto)

Plot/ Thoughts

These comics were known for their ballet stories, so I thought it was about time I talked about one. The title may suggest this is the type of story where a young girl is forbidden to dance by her bitter aunt/guardian/whoever, but actually this is set in the future where everyone is forbidden to dance or listen to music.

Yes, music damages your life by encouraging slothful behaviour…so in the year 2082  I guess there’s no TV shows, films, humorous websites, social networking or any other thing that people use these days to procrastinate instead of study/work.

Our  protagonist Denny Dacre, feels different to to her friends and family.  She wants to rebel against study and work and this worries her. Her closest friend is a robot named Miki.

It’s amusing to see in the 80s what the world was imagined to be like in the future. Films like Back to the Future II and even Blade Runner, while being over optimistic in some aspects, in other ways could not guess what technological achievements would be made. Even though we’re still 70 years away from the  setting of this story, there are no Kindles or iPad type devices instead it is imagined that we will have robots to carry our heavy paper books.

So Denny discovers why she feels so different when she finds an old cassette player at some market. When she takes it home and plays it she discovers the music of Swan Lake and she is enthralled by its beauty and wants to learn how to dance to it.

She gets into trouble at school when she can’t concentrate on her work. Later she hears a group of teens talking about wanting to dance. She sneaks out to meet them but is disappointed when they play some illegal disco music and “stamp” around the place.

After listening to one piece of music, already she’s a critic!

Luckily when she’s sent to a boarding school, she finds people who like to dance ballet and is admitted into a secret ballet class that takes place in the basement at night time. The class is run by the mysterious Alana and everyone wears hoods to protect their identities. Hence this kind of creepy image:

Denny figures out who one of the other girls is when she sees a burn on her hand. She thinks that Joanna is a spy as her mother is the Minister for Juvenile Education. She confronts Joanna, but discovers that she is genuinely passionate about ballet too.

There is a lot of sneaking around to try and keep things secret, but Miki learns of the Ballet class. As he is programmed to protect Denny, his logical conclusion is that he must know more about the class. As he is also programmed to obey Denny, she commands him to block out what he knows. This causes him to overload.


 Later at the ballet class, the basement floods during a storm, Denny is nearly swept away but luckily Miki revives himself and comes to rescue her. The whole class are brought to the creepy caretaker, Alice’s room. Everyone’s identities are revealed and Denny figures out that Alana and Alice are the same person.

When Joanna goes home she develops pneumonia and ends up blurting out everything about the dance class and who is involved in it. Her mother proceeds to arrest everyone involved and says that her daughter will be punished along with them.

On the day of the trial Joanne takes a turn for the worse and is asking for Denny. So the trial is suspended while Denny goes to see her.  So we never find out what the punishment was going to be, were they going to  be imprisoned, exiled, shunned from society? Joanna is going to die as there is nothing to live for in this world, but Denny gets the idea to save her with the power of dance!

This actually works and the mother is so impressed that the power of dance has brought her daughter back from near death, that she reconsiders the value of music and dance. Just hope she’s not considering it for medical purposes! So the girls are set free and they now have a minister behind them to help overturn anti-music laws.

Ballet, robots, mysterious teacher, oppressive governments, what’s not to like in this story!

6 thoughts on ““I Want to Dance!”

  1. Ah, the dystopia where every form of fun or affection is banned until one girl discovers what she is missing and it leads to revolution without bloodshed. I’ve seen this formula a few times in girls’ comics.

    For the most part it’s played with a touch of camp, but in Jinty’s ‘Land of No Tears’ it was at its darkest. In that story, every form of emotion is banned, shedding tears is harshly punished (mercifully, it isnever shown how), and serious transgressors (like mothers who secretly visit their children) are ‘taken away’ and never return. It takes a girl from the past, who has somehow travelled through time to the Land of No Tears, to set the revolution in motion.

  2. This is the story that started it all for me. I became interested in sci-fi and wanted to be a comic artist and I trace it all back to this story. I loved it to bits. Now I draw comics in my spare time and I can still learn a thing or two from the artist that did this story. *heart*

    1. I wouldn’t put it quite like that. The Jinty stories are signed Prieto and we’ve established that this should be credited as Emilia Prieto. Pueyo is a known artist who signs his artwork as such. The art itself looks very similar and one name could certainly be a pseudonym for the other, but this is not confirmed. Maybe if there is a signature on any of this story in Bunty that could help with deciding things one way or another? If there was a signature that clearly said ‘Pueyo’ on this story, I would take it as a definite indication that they are the same person.

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