“How She Move”: Who needs a story when you can dance?


I’m a chump for an urban style dance movie. A complete chump. I watch and smile and bob my head and groove and move and tap my feet and glide and slide while in my seat. Hey, that all rhymed! Seriously, I’m on the edge of said seat during these movies and want to hop up and bust my own moves. Or bust my own head, if it’s a break-dancing movie. But what officially makes me a chump is that I pay to watch these usually predictable, limited-story-line, clichéd movies. And even worse, I have the nerve to like them with no sincere apologies.

Well, I’m pleased to share my happiness with the other suckers out there in AfterEllen.com land who enjoy these movies. A new release, How She Move, opens Friday, and it looks like it has the music, the moves, the predictability and the clichés that I find hard to resist!

Ever since Janet Jackson‘s Rhythm Nation video back in the day, I am drawn to choreographed dance sequences. I tolerate the story lines of movies just to get to the dance sequences. I tolerate marginal acting just to get to the dance sequences. I tolerate the clichés just to get to the dance sequences. See, a real chump.

How She Move follows a high school student who, upon her sister’s death, is forced “to leave her private school to return to her old, crime-filled neighborhood where she re-kindles an unlikely passion for step dancing.” The film is the screen debut of relative newcomer Rutina Wesley as the protagonist, Raya. Yep, it’s a movie told from a young woman’s point of view — so already it’s different than many of its predecessors.

Here’s the trailer:



I love watching folks who have such a mastery of their bodies. Some people like watching athletes for the same reason. Some like watching ballet or even ballroom dancers for the same reason. But there is just something about the unfiltered passion and energy that comes across in a freer form of dance (even when choreographed) that just lights me up. Besides, you know what they say: If you know how to dance then you know how to … vacuum? Hmmm, maybe I misheard the old adage.

Anyway, How She Move is actually a Canadian film. It’s written by Annmarie Morais and was filmed entirely in and around Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario. The film debuted a year ago at Sundance 2007 and was picked up for distribution based on that showing. It has taken a little time to get the film broadly released here in the States, but early reviews have been favorable. Hey, maybe this will actually be more than just nice series of dance sequences?! What? I can hope, can’t I? The movie also stars Tre Armstrong and Dwain Murphy and has cameos of recording artists Mya and Keyshia Cole and is directed by Ian Iqbal Rashid.

How She Move opens Friday, January 25.

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