Saturday, February 9, 2008



African American step-dancing is a form of percussive dance in which the participant's entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps. It is rooted within the competitive schoolyard song and dance rituals practised by historically African American fraternities and sororities, beginning in the mid-1900’s. It's aggressive, assertive style of dance emphasises beat over all else and actively resists the graceful or the traditionally beautiful.

Though stepping may be done by an individual, it is generally performed by groups of three or more, often in arrangements that resemble military formations. Stepping draws upon elements of gymnastics, tap dance, march, African and Caribbean dance. Stepping includes semi-dangerous stunts as a part of individual routines such as backward flips. Some forms of stepping make use of props such as canes, rhythm sticks and/or fire and blindfolds.

Rutina Wesley: Raya, 20-year-old boarding school student
Dwain Murphy: Bishop, leader of the all-male step troupe
Tre Armstrong: Michelle, leader of the Fem Phatal Dancers

Despite the poorly written script it is fairly easy to figure out this “coming of age/overcome all adversity-type” movie just from the gist of it. Most of the dialog is peppered with unfamiliar teenage street slang and spoken with heavy immigrant accents but enough snippets of dialog can be understood to follow the story.

All the principal actors are unknowns but there really is not much asked of them other than to just be themselves. That they do well enough. The more demanding aspect of their performance is the actual dancing which they do superbly.

for some drug content, suggestive material and language.

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