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
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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