by Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman
It’s one of those “true clichés”: everyone comes to New York with the hopes of “making it”. For dancer Ruby Adams, the main character in the film High Strung, “making it in New York” means keeping her scholarship to the Manhattan Conservatory of Arts despite her struggles with her contemporary dance class. For British violinist Johnny Blackwell, getting a U.S. visa is his dream. In the film, the duo learns to work together to achieve their dreams and aspirations, while falling in love at the same time.
Due to their very different lifestyles and personalities, the pair is off to a rocky start. Ruby is a very disciplined student who is willing to work hard and takes school seriously. Johnny, whom she meets by chance, makes a living playing the violin in subway stations. When Ruby finds out that his violin was stolen she’s determined to help him out. She tells him about a “String and Dance” competition in which the winner will get money plus a scholarship to her school and urges Johnny to try out for a chance for him to win and get the money and a student visa. Johnny is reluctant to enter the competition. He is against the concept of studying and structure because of what it may do to his art and prefers to live life and play music “his way”.
Eventually Johnny realizes that entering the competition is the only way for him to have the chance to achieve his dreams and agrees to enter if Ruby will dance while he performs. She agrees and he enlists his neighbor and the neighbor’s friends, who are in a street dance group. With Ruby’s scholarship at stake and immigration authorities breathing down Johnny’s neck, the couple prepares for the performance of their lifetime. They must find ways to incorporate together their very different styles – Ruby’s classical dancing, Johnny’s violin playing and the street dance group’s hip hop dancing.
This is the film’s strong point – meshing together very different styles of art to create something new, fresh and invigorating. Director Michael Damian (of “The Young and the Restless” and “Rock On” fame) made a smart move by using professional dancer Keenan Kampa (as Ruby) along with other professional dancers of various backgrounds and experiences to help create authenticity in the dance scenes – of which there are many). With vibrant choreography by Dave Scott the film is sure to be a hit with the younger crowd.
The film is rated PG for some thematic elements and mild language. While the movie doesn’t really have bad language, nudity or violence, I think it’s more appropriate for teenagers. My nine-year-old daughter wouldn’t really be able to relate to the story – she barely even knows what college is. An older kid, perhaps a thirteen-year-old or older, would love the music and the dancing and would generally be able to relate the concept of college and fitting in.
Here is the trailer:
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman is the owner of Mama’s Bites and has also written for The Huffington Post. She has been living in New York City for fourteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree, but blogging is her true passion. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids (ages 9, 7 and 3) and loves finding great products that make her family’s life easier.