It’s summertime, so it must mean another Step Up movie is here. But this one is different.
Mostly just because there are different people in it, but also because it’s about AHRT.
And I can rail on this movie all I want, but the reality is I will absolutely watch this. OnDemand, with a bottle of wine and a block of cheese on a ladiez night with myself and the dog. And I will laugh at the horrible dialog, and the premise that through the power of dance we can stop development tycoons form buying property in our areas.
And then I will attempt these dance moves in my living room when no one is looking. Because I am that person.
We all know that I love a good bad movie. And the Step Up franchise is exactly what I’m looking for! But I want to stress, even though they say absurdly ignorant things like ‘enough with performance art – it’s time for protest art!’ (you mean like this, this, this, this, this, this and this?) there is the very real argument that street/hip hop/b-boy-style dance is absolutely art.
While it might not necessarily hold the same esteem of ballet or jazz in some circles, the level of control, athleticism, grace and endurance exercised in street dance are just as important to our art-vocabulary. And while it’s a bit on-the-nose that dance will help us through all our problems by literally being the solution, the underlying message of liberation through art is clear and however ‘sillily’ shown, important.
Also, a number of people in the film are So You Think You Can Dance alumni and as a rabid fan of the show, this delights me! For the years of my obsessing over SYTYCD, America’s Best Dance Crew and any other show that featured competitions for dancers, trying to convince fellow watchers that there are real jobs that those who win a competition was just tiring. These people had no vision! And perhaps up until recently, there really wasn’t a national outlet where people did see professional dancers. Sure, these kids would get gigs on Broadway, or as backup dancers on tour, but they weren’t featured anywhere on a huge scale.
Until the emergence of these competition shows, and the popularity of shows like Dancing with the Stars which target an older demographic who accepted ‘new’ dance since their favorite soap stars were doing it , the art of street dancing has really hit a high that is really fucking awesome. Dancers are now all over our screens and even in our airwaves – how many of us can listen to Party Rock Anthem and not think about Hawk and the guys from Quest Crew flipping and shuffling? They nearly single-handedly brought back music videos!
So, no matter how cheesy the films are, Step Up flicks are really doing a public service in many ways.
And most importantly, if there was no Step Up, there would be no Magic Mike. I’ll let you stew on that for a while.