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.

StreetDance 3D 311 (photo credit: Screenshot)
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,” youprobably do recognize the culture—part 1920’s dance moves, part 1980’sBronx and Harlem hip-hop style, part British underground dance scene.It fuses hip-hop freetstyle, jazz, contemporary dance, and a lot ofenergy. Think baggy jeans, Michael Jackson-smooth moves, and a littlebit of youthful sassiness.
Most recently, Streetdancing has come to attention through thepopularity of the British group Diversity. Diversity swept away itscompetition to win this year’s Britain’s Got Talent,bringing the dance form into the homes of the show’s viewers andspreading interest in the form across social, economic and geographicboundaries. “Since Diversity, dance has just exploded,” says Sandy. “Ithas enhanced the youthfulness of British culture.” More importantlyperhaps, according to Sandy, it has “helped young kids do somethinginstead of being on the streets.”
Over the course of the interview the charismatic and eloquent dancerand choreographer who also goes by the name H20 exudes enthusiasm and areal understanding of the transformative power of dance. “From acommunity-based point of view, I’ve noticed that a lot of dancers takeaway a heightened sense of self esteem, leadership and confidencebecause of their involvement,” observes Sandy. “You learn discipline,self-evaluation. Dance has created another way of training people foreveryday 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 andtranscend cultural differences is tangible. At the end of theinterview, Sandy offers to come to Israel in order to put on workshopsfor Israeli youth. His hope: by bringing streetdancing to Israel, hecan also bring to life the lessons of the movie and the power of thedance form. “Streetdance is about finding ways of fusing ourselves. Thefilm is about how to move forward.” He continues, “even if you startwith ten people that make a difference, those ten people will make adifference over time.”
StreetDance 3D opens Thursday at selected cinemas throughout the country.