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How She Move

How She Move


A review of Ian Rashid's new film about step dancing, screening at the 2007 Film Festival.

Of all the films at Sundance this year, How She Move has the luckiest timing. It has no stars, an all-black cast, and a thoroughly conventional story - but it's also about step dancing, a red-hot trend that has kept the similar Stomp the Yard at the top of the box office for two surprising weeks. Despite its presence at an independent film festival, How She Move could achieve the same feat, and to judge from the constant Blackberry abuse during the screening, many acquisitions execs felt the same way.

Raya Green (the appealing Rutina Wesley) is a bright seventeen-year-old who leaves her crime-ridden community to attend private school, and she's developed a bit of a superiority complex about it. However, all that comes crashing down when her drug-addicted sister dies after a lengthy stay in rehab - a situation that saps Raya's family of both their spirit and their money. As Raya puts it, "Private rehab for Pam meant no private school for me, so I got shipped to Hell High.

The new school is an old one in many ways, filled as it is with former friends Raya had left behind a long time ago. It's also a hub for step dancing, and when Raya learns of a lucrative dance competition coming up (one that could conveniently finance, say, a private school education), she has no other choice but to join forces with the peers she is so wary of. Luckily, the girl's got skills, and she joins up with an impressive step dancing crew led by the handsome Bishop (Dwain Murphy). Familiar setbacks, victories, and romance follow.

How She Move may not break any new ground, but it's still enjoyable, and it has in out director Ian Iqbal Rashid (A Touch of Pink) a man who's not afraid to shoot dance sequences in unbroken long takes. For that alone, let's hope How She Move follows a path to success as preordained as Raya's.

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Kyle Buchanan