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Last Updated
Sunday 09 December 2018, 22:38 pm.
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Back Stage

I dance because dance can change
By Staff Writer Mon 10 Dec 2018, 07:22 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Back Stage








The sequel had its worldwide opening on August 6, but so far has not done well in the box office.  It is back for the third time in all its razzmatazz.  The visual splendour of the dancing remains exhilarating, but the triteness of the rest of the film is soul destroying.  The plot is banal, even full of contradictions.  The dialogue is so lacking in originality to be too obvious and boring.  How many times do we have to hear that someone was "born to dance"?  It certainly doesn't means they were born to dance in Nikes and with clothing that hides their bodies and shades that conceal the sparkle in their eyes.  We all arrive into this world naked, with a cry or a scream and with near gender equity.

The structure of this film is simplistic.  Luke (acted by Rick Malambri) who loves dance has opened his East River front warehouse in Brooklyn, called The Vault or the "House of Pirates", to other dancers, both as a place to rehearse and to crash.  He has a love of capturing what he sees going on around him on film.  One of the rehearsal rooms has a nice touch - a wall lined with old boom boxes.  The dramatic tension lies in Luke's being half-a-year behind in the mortgage payments - the bank is threatening to foreclose.  If they are locked out, what will happen to The Pirates?  Their goal is to win the Hip-hop Battle and win the first prize of US$100,000 so they can pay off the mortgage.  The crew is preparing for the great competition where they will confront their arch rivals, The Samurai, led by poor-little rich-boy Julien (played by Joe Slaughter) who used to be one of them.

Step Up 3 actually takes us through two run-offs and then the finale. So the three competitions of the World Jam and lots of rehearsals, practices and other activities make for a lot of hip-hop moves and music - all dominated by men. Often the battles end up being consummated by whirling dervishes.

There are two "love stories". The first brings together Moose (Adam G Sevani) and Camille (Alyson Stoner)- back from Step Up 2 and Step Up 1 respectively.  They are now 'freshers' at New York University on Washington Square in Manhattan. Moose, under pressure from his parents, and recognising his own natural gifts, is entering a programme in engineering, and promises to forget dancing. As it is in his blood, we all know he never can.

Camille seems to be always waiting on the edge of her chair for Moose.  As soon as Moose's parents have left them at the Square, Moose is drawn to dancing happening near by and plunges into trouble immediately.  Moose is helped to escape the police

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by Luke and to renew his Nike fetishism - his heart's desire to be eventually achieved.

The shift to new turfs in Manhattan to across the Brooklyn Bridge below the Heights is welcome and fun.  The best dance sequence is on the city streets by the old brownstone homes and begins with an ice-cream vendor providing the music.  You'll know this is derivative, but it is still fun. There some kids say, "Give it up, it sucks". Their motto is: "I dance because dance can change things."  Another scene that is different and fun is when at a masked dance in a fancy hall they all move to the Argentinean Tango.  Luke's love interest becomes Natalie (Sharni Vinson) who turns out to be Julien's sister, a fact kept secret from him, but how could he not know this, as Julien used to be part of The Pirates.  Julien's strategy for destroying The Pirates is to get them evicted from their premises, but they soon, with a little help from some Chinese-Americans, find new rehearsal spaces farther out in Brooklyn at Coney Island in a place where old amusement park materials are stored. Moose discovers that his engineering talents can save the day. The concluding scene in Grand Central Station is also visually fun.

What I wrote about Step Up 1 four years ago is still relevant today. "It is another teen flick about dancing across class and cultures. But the pun in the title refers to how dancing can transform lives so that youth may move away from a life of crime and years in prison.  Now that is a step up! There are dozens of films about adolescents, dancing and its transformative powers. Some of the classics are: Shall We Dance (1937), Flashdance (1983), Footloose (1984), Dirty Dancing (1987) and Dirty Dancing-Havana Nights (2004). Others are Fame (1980) on the High School for the Performing Arts in Manhattan and the Australian film, Strictly Ballroom (1992) where the steps are what count. Save the Last Dance (2001) set in Chicago with a white ballerina introduced to hip-hop by a black youth is the film Step Up is closest too".

Step Up 3 is one hour and 47 minutes long.  It is rated 10 +. Anne Fletcher, a dancer and choreographer, directed Step Up 1. Starting with Step Up 2: The Streets Jon M. Chu became the new director. The cinematographer is Ken Seng. The editor is Andrew Marcus. The choreographers are Nadine Ruffin, Jamal Sims, Dave Scott, Richmond Talauega and Anthony Talauega. The costumes are by Kurt & Bar. The new script for Step Up 3 is by Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer, but it is based on what was created by Duane Adler for Step Up 1.
sasa_majuma@yahoo.co.uk
 

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