HOW SHE MOVE, from director Ian Iqbal Rashid and writer Annmarie Morais, is basically an African American version of those dance movies like STEP UP, but perversely set in Canada and with art-house aspirations. As usual, these dance movies are really all about class struggle. In this case, the protagonist Raya Green is trying to lift herself out of poverty by winning a scholarship to stay in private school - thereby leaving memories of her junkie sister behind her. Raya is a survivor, so she dumps one dance crew competing for a cash prize for another crew with a better chance of winning. It's all filmed in a grim, bleached out style and that pretty much sums up the tone of the film. Rashid and Morais have spurned the typically rom-com endings of other dance films and that's okay, but there's not enough meat in the social realism that's meant to take its place. Fundamentally, I just doubt whether we can take urban realist drama seriously when it's shoe-horned into a glitzy dance-off.
HOW SHE MOVE played Sundance 2007 and opened in spring 2008. It is available on DVD.