The Magic of Dance
High Strung Free Dance simply bowled me over. It’s a must-see movie for all dance fans! But in my case, this wonderful film is something quite special. My love of dance began way back when I started walking and has never waned. Also, high on my bucket list is to be involved in a Broadway musical -- not just as a performer but from the start with writing, casting, sets, choreography, costumes, music, etc. Of course, that will never happen. So the next best thing is watching High Strung Free Dance, which deals with putting on a Broadway dance show. YAY! It’s a combination of A Chorus Line and 42nd Street.
I was on cloud nine watching every scene, including exciting auditions, fascinating rehearsals, fantastic routines, and the spectacular finale. How could I not be? Director/co-writer (with Janeen Damian) Michael Damian and choreographer Tyce Diorio made sure this lively musical boasts many types of dancing performed by terrific dancers, and the plot never overshadows these visual delights. Director Damian also selected very appealing actors, especially for the three main roles. Thomas Doherty, Juliet Doherty and Harry Jarvis form a romantic triangle that holds our interest throughout. Juliet not only looks gorgeous, she won me over with her understated acting and exceptional dancing. It’s no wonder the characters played by the two men become interested in the lovely contemporary dancer. Jarvis plays an innovative young pianist. Thomas Doherty portrays the choreographer who hires them both. There’s just enough tension among these three to create suspense about how that situation will be resolved.
It’s difficult to pick out the film’s highlights. There are so many. But an old-fashioned cabaret number featuring two splendid tap dancers doing steps reminiscent of the great Nicholas Brothers is a stand-out for me. The energy in that scene almost jumps off the screen. Also, a scene close to the end is one of my favorites of the year. It takes place back stage at the show’s premiere. Two of the cast members are waiting in the dark for the curtain to open, and one tells the other that it doesn’t matter if you are a member of the audience or in the show, “This is the moment when we all are waiting for the magic to begin.”
“High Strung Free Dance,” a joyous sight
of artistry and dance done right.
Its simple plot takes second place
to performances done with grace.
Dancers floating high in the air!
Great technique seen everywhere.
All types of dancing, even tap.
Bollywood too to fill the gap.
Yes, putting on a Broadway show
does excite me, just so you know.
Waiting for magic to begin
always will be to me a win.
(Released by Atlas Distribution Company and rated “PG” by MPAA.)
Available on Netflix starting on May 31, 2020.