Film Preview: Britain ‘has’ got talent

With a thumping soundtrack and a range of enthralling dance sequences, ‘StreetDance 3D’ could be the perfect summer movie.

June 18, 2010 19:32
2 minute read.
'StreetDance 3D.'

StreetDance 3D 311. (photo credit: Screenshot)

The StreetDance story is a familiar one. Two groups of unlikely partners join forces to beat the odds. In the process, each learns new enlightening truths about the other and the encounter also paves the way for self-discovery.

StreetDance gives us a group of rough-tough dancers from London’s rough and tumble neighborhoods. The dance troupe meet their counterparts: trained dancers from London’s upper-crust formal ballet school. The script provides them with reasons to band together. Cross-cultural misunderstandings ensue. Socio-economic barriers must be crossed. And of course, the two troupes must learn to dance together. None of this is new.

But here is what is new: The directors have filmed the movie in 3D, and they have focused their attention on dance culture. Dancers literally leap off the screen out into the audience. What emerges in the StreetDance movie is a visually stunning, if not conceptually original film that introduces audiences to the streetdance and the British phenomenon Kenrick Sandy. Sandy, a revolutionary leader in the Streetdance movement is a major talent as a choreographer, dancer, and pop-culture icon.

Working with internationally renowned Streetdance group Flawless and the StreetDance cast, Sandy choreographed the dance scenes for the movie, giving viewers a glimpse of both the vibrant performance of the dance itself and the dynamic culture built around it.

If you don’t immediately recognize the term “streetdancing,” you probably do recognize the culture—part 1920’s dance moves, part 1980’s Bronx and Harlem hip-hop style, part British underground dance scene. It fuses hip-hop freetstyle, jazz, contemporary dance, and a lot of energy. Think baggy jeans, Michael Jackson-smooth moves, and a little bit of youthful sassiness.

Most recently, Streetdancing has come to attention through the popularity of the British group Diversity. Diversity swept away its competition to win this year’s Britain’s Got Talent, bringing the dance form into the homes of the show’s viewers and spreading interest in the form across social, economic and geographic boundaries. “Since Diversity, dance has just exploded,” says Sandy. “It has enhanced the youthfulness of British culture.” More importantly perhaps, according to Sandy, it has “helped young kids do something instead of being on the streets.”

Over the course of the interview the charismatic and eloquent dancer and choreographer who also goes by the name H20 exudes enthusiasm and a real understanding of the transformative power of dance. “From a community-based point of view, I’ve noticed that a lot of dancers take away a heightened sense of self esteem, leadership and confidence because of their involvement,” observes Sandy. “You learn discipline, self-evaluation. Dance has created another way of training people for everyday life.”

Sandy has faith that the film’s themes of unity across a divide and generative diversity will resonate with Israeli audiences.

His faith in the power of streedance to bring people together and transcend cultural differences is tangible. At the end of the interview, Sandy offers to come to Israel in order to put on workshops for Israeli youth. His hope: by bringing streetdancing to Israel, he can also bring to life the lessons of the movie and the power of the dance form. “Streetdance is about finding ways of fusing ourselves. The film is about how to move forward.” He continues, “even if you start with ten people that make a difference, those ten people will make a difference over time.”

StreetDance 3D opens Thursday at selected cinemas throughout the country.

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