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Following her sister's death from drug addiction, a high school student is forced to leave her private school to return to her old, crime-filled neighborhood where she re-kindles an unlikely passion for the competitive world of step dancing.
Ian Iqbal Rashid
A group of 12 teenagers from various backgrounds enroll at the American Ballet Academy in New York to make it as ballet dancers and each one deals with the problems and stress of training and getting ahead in the world of dance.
In New York, the polite dance instructor Pierre Dulaine sees a black teenager vandalizing the car of the director of a public school and on the next day he volunteers to teach dance to students to give respect, dignity, self-confidence, trust and teamwork. The reluctant director Augustine James offers the troublemakers that are in detention expecting Pierre to give-up of his intentions. Pierre struggles against the prejudice and ignorance of the students, parents and other teachers, but wins his battle when the group accepts to compete in a ballroom dance contest. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Antonio Banderas and Laura Benanti, whom both star in this film together, were previously on Broadway together in the 2003 Revival of Nine the Musical. Banderas received a Tony Award nomination for his role in this production. See more »
Since the students in Pierre's class had never competed before, they would be automatically in the newcomer category, whereas the students from Pierre's studio would be competing at higher levels of bronze, silver, gold or open syllabus. Also, the students would be disqualified from dancing moves that were non-newcomer/bronze syllabus, which several of them did. See more »
I just returned from seeing this film at a preview/test screening.
This film was much better than I had expected. The story brings to mind movies such as Mad Hot Ballroom or Dangerous Minds, but is different enough that it is able to stand on its own.
Overall I thought the acting was well done. The dancing was great (both the hip hop dancing and the ballroom). And while I am not a huge Antonio Banderas fan, I thought he was excellent, and I really liked him. He was able to be the star of the movie, but not the center of attention at all times. He looked good and seemed to provide a different element to what could have been the same old "help the inner city kids find hope" story.
The script and dialogue had nothing too cheesy or corny, which is usually found in "feel good" films, or movies about highschool students. There are plenty of funny parts, as well as enough drama and interesting character conflicts to keep everything interesting.
My only complaint was that the ending didn't seem to wrap up everything
there were some back story lines and issues that weren't resolved.
But a few unanswered questions can sometimes be better than a cheesy, unbelievable ending where suddenly all is right in the world. I'll be curious to see if they make any changes before it is released in theatres.
I give it an 8 out of 10, because I was genuinely entertained.
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