In the BBC/Starz period drama, Dancing on the Edge, screenwriter and director Stephen Poliakoff chronicles the rapid ascent of a black jazz band in early 1930s British society, and the thorny issues of race and class. Romance and passion play a prominent part in this exploration, of course, and as each episode progresses, we watch how it breaks down barriers—and keeps them intact.
Louis Lester, leader of the Louis Lester Band, is immediately marked as “different” by circle of aristocrats and jazz fans who boost the Louis Lester Band—he is the only British citizen in his band (thereby exempt from needing to file with the immigration offices each week). Yet, his blackness separates him from his countrymen and women. Sarah, a society photographer who is friend/companion to the aristocratic Pamela Luscombe, is also an outsider—though this is less apparent on first meeting. She is the daughter of a Russian Jewish immigrant who escaped the pogroms and is determined not to rock the boat in his new country.