Kate and Anthony‘s first dance in Bridgerton‘s “Victory” is an angsty beauty with movements that make everything around them feel that much more softened. It’s different from their “Wrecking Ball” dance in “The Viscount Who Loved Me“—it’s quiet, yet when their emotions lull the room, the sounds of their heartbeats equate to an overwhelming eruption.
The barely-there touches lead to swifter embraces, Anthony’s leg glide mirrors a clock of sorts, and Jack Murphy paints a brilliantly moving story in the heart of their dance by showing the audience what it’s like when two people who don’t know how to act on their feelings are thrust towards movements that demand they meet each other halfway.
Their first dance encompasses the art of agency and the role of respect in their relationship. Before the conversations even begin, through every choreographed move, Anthony shows us that he’s looking to Kate for permission—every move he makes is then by virtue of what she allows. It’s one step forward, then back, dance moves that achingly exhibit the push and pull between them in the form of spins and glances that mirror what’s happening deep inside of them.
When Anthony finally starts speaking, everything changes because, for the first time, what Kate wants is what matters. What she wants should take precedence on this dance floor and their lives. As an anxious man, we see much of his inability to give in as the camera focuses on his expressions that tell us he doesn’t want to mess up at this moment. It’s imperative to focus on the softness Jonathan Bailey brings to his voice the moment he says, is that what you want—for me to reconsider? Because in these moves, he is seeking the escape from his demons only Kate can provide. He is looking to her for permission to let pieces of himself go in their movements.
Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey both do a masterful job of keeping their eyes fixed on one another through conversations that even they cannot decipher are taking place. Every part of them is finding something in the other to pull away from, only to then push even closer to.
Kate and Anthony’s first dance is a magical scene entirely because of the overwhelming emotions rising to the surface like embers from a fire. But there’s something incredibly muted at the moment, too—it’s the after-effects of a fire, the calm before another rises, yet the internal battles are unrelenting.
Bringing back what we had said in our full episode review: As a cover of “Dancing on my Own” plays, Kate and Anthony are the only two people in the entire ballroom with their eyes fixed on one another throughout the whole number. As their bodies move in perfect unison, their eyes never falter, continuing the conversations they’ll deny—pretending as though they’re the only two people in the room, understanding that the mix of contentment and fire burning between them is something they’ll never find elsewhere.
It’s why Anthony asks what of her future; it’s why it riles him to learn that she plans to leave because he knows that what he feels with her is absent elsewhere, around Edwina included. It’s why he doesn’t want her to run away, to leave him behind.
Though neither are wallflowers, and the lyrics don’t match what is visible on the outside, it’s the battles we should be focusing on. They’ve been dancing on their own for years before another soul looked into the broken pieces that govern in the middle of raging storms. They’ve scattered themselves through life, picking up everyone else’s pieces, watching as happiness found residence everywhere except for their hollow corners.
They’ve stood in the junctions of their own hearts, denying themselves glimmers of happiness because that would require confronting the darkness alone.
I’m just gonna dance all night
I’m all messed up, I’m so outta line
Stilettos on broken bottles
I’m spinning around in circles
Kate and Anthony have both consistently spun around in circles, like a clock coming to designated routine stops, choosing to stay where they were comfortable because the fears of what they could find weren’t in the cards for their broken spirits. And it’s where we can see Anthony’s foot glide sort of mirror this turn, spinning in circles, hoping someone stops him in his tracks (which is what happened the moment he first met her racing in the park). It’s what he did to her as well, spinning her entire world off its axis with every breath he took.
He’s stiff, not because he’s angry or unfeeling, but because Anthony doesn’t know how to move beside her. He doesn’t want to ruin anything with Kate because it is around her where he can catch his breath and release it freely. It’s around Kate where he can open up the parts of him he cannot bare with another soul, and the dance showcases the detail that he doesn’t want to continue running in circles.
He wants to stop, take her all in, give her everything she wants, and find a better routine in the middle of where she is. But he has to stop himself because he’s courting her sister. He needed her to say no more than he needed her to say yes because that could equate to allowing this moment to last a while longer.
Neither of them wants to dance alone anymore; they want whatever is happening within them—they want to give in to the longing that’s gnawing at them to collide, to find solace in each other. But now’s not the time. This is a fleeting moment, but it’s one they’ll take in, eyes locked, allowing their movements to tell the story of two people who’ve yet to choose for themselves.
Kate and Anthony’s first dance is about agency and ticking time bombs—two people ready to explode into cascades of adoration yet utterly terrified of what they’ll continue to find in themselves if they give in to each other.