HIGH STRUNG

Highstrung Before American Idol, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, Glee and even those now defunct reality show looking for their next Broadway lead ...there was FAME.

Who can forget that famous scene on W. 46th Street where the kids danced on top of taxi's during their lunch break, or how Leroy went to the audition with his friend and he got into the School of Performing Arts, or those famous words of Lydia Grant aka Debbie Allen..."You want FAME, well FAME costs...and right here is where you start paying in sweat..."

Well, baby now Young & The Restless star Michael Damian brings us an updated, hit-charged version called "High Strung".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3Xi1yEDN7U

Ruby Adams (Keenan Kampa) has come to the city to begin her scholarship at the famed MCA, considered to be one of the toughest performing arts schools in the country.  While waiting for the subway, she stumbles upon a brooding violinist Johnnie Blackwell (Nicholas Galitzine) and a fight to the finish between two dance crews on the platform.

These two discover, not only are they attracted to each other, but both have obstacles to overcome, in addition to them both not fitting in.  Ruby desperately needs to hold onto her scholarship and Johnnie is facing deportation when they join forces with the SwitchSteps to win a contest that would solve both their issues.

Baby, the results are amazing and make for a very entertaining, high energy, emotional and fantabulous ride thanks to Director/Writer Michael Damian.

I would be remiss in not giving a massive hand of applause to Choreographer - Dave Scott. His choreography and the dancers he chose to execute his imaginatively, warped sense of melting street with classical is mind-blowing!  It made my knees and back hurt just to watch...lol!!  Back in the day, I started out as a dancer and am amazed every day at how complex and technical it has all become.  I wouldn't stand a ghost of a chance against these dolls at an open call nowadays.  Surely, I would be annihilated within the first few seconds of a combination.

There were many battles that I adored, but the two that stick out in my mind the most are the battle between Johnnie and Kyle at a high society fundraiser and the battle of the best crew on the subway platform.  Both are absolutely genius.

Ruby Adams is very natural and an amazingly flexible dancer.  Her sidekick, Sunoya  Mizuno as Ruby's roomie Jazzy is hilarious and will remind every one of that one girl in college who just "wanted to have fun".  However, Nicholas Galitzine has "it" and is very reminiscent of a young 21 Jump Street Johnny Depp.  He commands the screen every time the camera catches his face.  Knowing that Jane Seymour started out as a dancer and did her thing a few seasons back on Dancing With The Stars, it was such a pleasant surprise to see her be the "Lydia Grant" of this film.

I will leave you with a few quotes and some red carpet footage from the premiere at the Hollywood Chinese theatre that should keep your minds lubricated until you hit a theatre on April 8th to check out High Strung

"See the music...heart the dance..."  -  George Balanchine

"Dancers DANCE no matter what"!

"Music, like dance , is a link to the soul"

"it's the imperfections that keep us alive"

https://youtu.be/J7ZTn0Q8H1E

A Ballerina's Tale

75 A BALLERINA'S TALE review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com and www.carlarenatascorner.com

 

Most people don't know that I started out in this business as a dancer on Broadway.  So, not that long ago when I had to undergo knee replacement surgery, I mustered up the courage and determination I witnessed in history making ballerina Misty Copeland.

Misty Copeland has had quite a mind-blowing year!  Very few dancers are accepted into a prestigious ballet company and not only did Copeland get accepted, but became the first African-American to be named a soloist and principal dancer for the American Ballet theatre, starred on Broadway in "On The Town" and is the first African -American Ballerina to perform the lead roles in Firebird and Swan Lake. So, when did she have time to film a documentary?

The night of her Firebird  performance, Misty danced beautifully, but later Misty discovered she had six fractures in her left shin. Without corrective surgery the shin might one day brea and many doubted she would dance again...including Misty.

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A Ballerina's Tale is an intimate look at a very special ballerina during a crucial period of her life and career. The bulk of the film looks at Misty's journey from the triumph of Firebird, the painful road back to dancing and when Misty's return to the American Ballet Theatre stage emerging ever victorious in the process.

This extraordinary young woman shines a light on several challenges within the classical ballet world: the absence of women of color at major companies; the emphasis on skinny bodies for ballerinas and how that pressure impacts one's health sending negative messages to young fans around the world. In addition, Misty, because of her race and curves, opens up on how focused she had to become especially with a ballet career starting at 13 years old.

A Ballerina's Tale is Misty's story, but a familiar one for so many young girls of color with the hopes and dreams of one day dancing as a Prima Ballerina.  It's a story how one girl who refused to give up no matter who many times she secretly wanted to succumb to the pressure and walk away from the biggest love of her life.

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Having had the opportunity to speak with her at the Tribeca Film Festival, I can tell you that Misty Copeland is the real deal and this documentary will inspire, as well as, share the un-glamourous side of what being a dancer is really like.

A Ballerina's Tale opens in theaters nationwide on Weds., October 16th.

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