Before American Idol, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, Glee and even those now defunct reality show looking for their next Broadway lead …there was FAME.
Who can forget that famous scene on W. 46th Street where the kids danced on top of taxi’s during their lunch break, or how Leroy went to the audition with his friend and he got into the School of Performing Arts, or those famous words of Lydia Grant aka Debbie Allen…”You want FAME, well FAME costs…and right here is where you start paying in sweat…”
Well, baby now Young & The Restless star Michael Damian brings us an updated, hit-charged version called “High Strung”.
Ruby Adams (Keenan Kampa) has come to the city to begin her scholarship at the famed MCA, considered to be one of the toughest performing arts schools in the country. While waiting for the subway, she stumbles upon a brooding violinist Johnnie Blackwell (Nicholas Galitzine) and a fight to the finish between two dance crews on the platform.
These two discover, not only are they attracted to each other, but both have obstacles to overcome, in addition to them both not fitting in. Ruby desperately needs to hold onto her scholarship and Johnnie is facing deportation when they join forces with the SwitchSteps to win a contest that would solve both their issues.
Baby, the results are amazing and make for a very entertaining, high energy, emotional and fantabulous ride thanks to Director/Writer Michael Damian.
I would be remiss in not giving a massive hand of applause to Choreographer – Dave Scott. His choreography and the dancers he chose to execute his imaginatively, warped sense of melting street with classical is mind-blowing! It made my knees and back hurt just to watch…lol!! Back in the day, I started out as a dancer and am amazed every day at how complex and technical it has all become. I wouldn’t stand a ghost of a chance against these dolls at an open call nowadays. Surely, I would be annihilated within the first few seconds of a combination.
There were many battles that I adored, but the two that stick out in my mind the most are the battle between Johnnie and Kyle at a high society fundraiser and the battle of the best crew on the subway platform. Both are absolutely genius.
Ruby Adams is very natural and an amazingly flexible dancer. Her sidekick, Sunoya Mizuno as Ruby’s roomie Jazzy is hilarious and will remind every one of that one girl in college who just “wanted to have fun”. However, Nicholas Galitzine has “it” and is very reminiscent of a young 21 Jump Street Johnny Depp. He commands the screen every time the camera catches his face. Knowing that Jane Seymour started out as a dancer and did her thing a few seasons back on Dancing With The Stars, it was such a pleasant surprise to see her be the “Lydia Grant” of this film.
I will leave you with a few quotes and some red carpet footage from the premiere at the Hollywood Chinese theatre that should keep your minds lubricated until you hit a theatre on April 8th to check out High Strung
“See the music…heart the dance…” – George Balanchine
“Dancers DANCE no matter what”!
“Music, like dance , is a link to the soul”
“it’s the imperfections that keep us alive”