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Film review: Street Dance 2

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Street Dance 2 brings us nothing original, just the usual ‘we want to win a competition’ narrative, with the interest and excitement coming from the dancing itself.

Street Dance 2The highlight comes when the Street Dance crew battle against a group of Salsa dancers on a nightclub dancefloor. In this scene, as indeed throughout, the cinematography and musical arrangement skillfully capture the virtuosity of the dancers to full effect. The street dance choreography gives us everything we have come to expect from a top class display; lightning fast punchy unison sequences, lots of crazy waggly arm patterns, floorwork and mind boggling flips and acrobatic tricks. The dancers in this film have cleverly been allowed to show off their individuality, seemingly interjecting spectacular solo sequences of their own. The lead choreographer has done well to allow each dancer’s unique strengths to feature and the film is much the better for it.

Salsa in the UK doesn’t tend to appeal to a young audience. The Salsa clubs cater for an age range starting from people in their late twenties and upwards. This film does Salsa a huge favour, it shows how cool (or should that be ‘hot’) it really can be. We see young Salsa dancers matching the vitality and energy of the Street dancers.

They attack their moves, perform the splits and acrobatic lifts along with a whirlwind of fast spins. This is an aggressive and acrobatic form of Salsa. Personally, I prefer Salsa when it is smooth and sensual and more focused on musical interpretation. For me, this is when Salsa is at it’s best and when it stands out more from other dance forms. Street Dance 2 exploits the side to Salsa that is more akin to street dance and finds a place for the two to meet. It is fitting that Tango dancing is also featured. Aggression is it forté. This dance form was originally danced by two men locked together in a battle of intimidation to win access to a prostitute. Today Tango is used to express passion between a man and a woman and this is what we see from the two main characters in the film. The Latin dancing is needed for us to see their romance develop. Street Dance 2 shows us how Latin dancing is required for sexual attraction and romance to flourish and showcases the youthful, more energetic, cooler side to Salsa.

The storyline doesn’t throw up any surprises but if you can’t get enough of watching Street this is definitely worth a view as the dancing looks great on the big screen. What may surprise you however, is that it might turn you on to Salsa!

Get to the theatre in June and July and see the stars of the Street Dance films when Flawless tour the UK with English National Ballet. www.ballet.org.uk

For Salsa classes from a pro go to www.dance-diversion.com. Students get a discounted rate of 5 lessons for £20 in Wapping, central London or find a Salsa club near you www.salsajive.co.uk.

Fritha Fallon is Director of Dance Diversion

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