“Step Up”- Back Flips, Pop Locks & Drama

Growing up I watched the movie Step Up and I was completely mesmerized. For those of you who loved the movies just as much as I did, I have good news for you. There is a new TV series inspired by the Step Up movies originally created by Duane Adler. It’s called “Step Up: High Water” and it’s a drama and dance web TV series created and produced by Holly Sorenson and Step Up couple Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum. The show premiered on YouTube Red on January 31st and has a cast with major stars including Ne-Yo, “Glee” member Naya Rivera, and Lauryn McClain. “High Water” has also received a 71 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating. Each episode is about 41-57 minutes long with 10 episodes completed for the first season.

This series is about two siblings who got put into foster care and sent to live with their uncle in Atlanta after their mother was arrested. In Atlanta, there’s a school called High Water that focuses more on the arts than actual schoolwork. As they try to navigate their new world, on and off the dance floor, they’ll discover just how deep their willing to go to get their dream. The series goes through many different issues like relationships, friendships, racial inequality, drugs, alcohol, discovering your sexuality and much more. That’s everything you need to have a teen drama series. It also has a 95 percent majority Black cast.

Unlike the movies, “Step Up: High Water” focuses on teens and the actual art of dance. I’m not dissing the movies, but they all kind of had the same storyline. Like meet the characters, dance battle, main characters lose the battle, competition, main characters win competition. The End. It was fine at first but after a while it got hella boring. With “High Water” you get something new such as other styles of dance other than hip-hop like majorette, ballet, and African. Something fresh in the storyline is when Tal, one of the main characters, incorporated ballet with hip-hop in the same dance. Like, who does that? So many plot twists have happened in the first few episodes, like when Janelle, the other main character, tried out for High Water but her brother, Tal, made it instead when she went through the whole audition process and Tal didn’t. The series and the movies may have been different but they’re also alike in a way. Rivera, who plays Collette Jones on the show, compares the series to the movie saying, “It’s very real and it’s very raw and gritty. But the dancing you can expect to be the same and amazing.” The show gives the young people of color around the world hope that dancing professionally can be a reality and not just a dream.

“Step Up: High Water” can also be classified as a “teen soap.” Variety Magazine says, “‘Step Up: High Water’ demonstrates assured confidence at balancing the darker parts of its storytelling with lighthearted comedy…”. “High Water” captured me in with first episode and left me thinking “Oh sh*t! What’s gonna happen next season?” The show also gives you many different storylines with other characters than the main ones without steering away from the original plotline, which is a plus. It was so good that I watched all 10 episodes in one day and it had me craving more. Every dramatic TV series should leave their audience feeling this way but not everyone does, which is why some never make it past the first season.


By Allana Green, Sophomore, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep

Twitter: @_Allxnx_

Written by IVC Productions

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