In “Master Harold”… and the boys
ballroom dance serves both as a symbol of escape from the world as it is and as an ideal, potential world, a “world without collisions.” Willie
preoccupy themselves with dance as a way to distract themselves from the humdrum routine of waiting tables at the somewhat shabby St. George’s Tea Room. Hally
, however, fails to see the beauty and significance of dance. His nonplussed attitude makes sense: as a socially privileged white boy he doesn’t face the same kind of oppression and, therefore, has less to escape from, societally speaking, than Sam and Willie. What’s more, the world already seems a little more ideal when you’re sitting at the top of it. The contrast between an ideal world and the world as it is becomes strikingly evident at the play’s conclusion. Willie spends his bus fare on a song so that he can dance, not with a movie star, but with another aging man, yet, for a moment, Sam, Willie, the St. George’s Tea Room, and the world’s imperfections are transformed into a fluid and ideal beauty.