Limited Theatrical Release – Ruby Adams (Keenan Kampa) is a dancer from the Midwest on scholarship, living her first day in New York City. Johnnie Blackwell (Nicholas Galitzine) is a British musician, playing for money in the subway tunnels. Ruby’s world is classical and disciplined; Johnnie’s is improvisational and street smart. When a hip-hop battle gone wrong throws these two artists together, they immediately clash but can’t deny it when sparks begin to fly. Their lives quickly get entangled in the pitfalls that come with competing in New York City. With the help of a dynamic dance crew called The Switch Steps, Ruby and Johnnie must find a way to save Ruby’s scholarship and keep Johnnie from being deported. In an action-packed extravaganza, combining cutting edge hip-hop with contemporary and classical dance, the two must navigate their opposing worlds and prepare for a competition where winning or losing will change their lives forever.
“High Strung” is an inspiring movie to watch. It will encourage creative people who are trying to realize their dreams — people like the protagonists in the film, Ruby Adams (Keenan Kampa) and Johnnie Blackwell (Nicholas Galitzine). Rudy wants to be a dancer and moves to New York to study and practice the art of dancing. Johnnie, a British musician, plays his violin on New York City street corners in order to pay the rent and survive, but he dreams of being a world-class violinist. His grandfather’s death is the inspiration for Johnnie, as he often looks at his grandfather’s photo. He even has his grandfather’s date of death tattooed on his arm. Yet after he meets Ruby, he finds a new inspiration in her. When Johnnie’s violin is stolen when he is distracted on the street, Ruby is determined to borrow one from her college in order for him to continue playing. Although moody and edgy, Johnnie has a romantic side that Ruby loves. He invites her over to dinner and lights candles up the steps to his apartment.
The dances and music featured in the film are energetic, creative, and well performed. Ruby’s teachers push her to be her best, including dance instructor Oksana (Jane Seymour) and Mr. Kramrovsky (Paul Freeman). When Ruby convinces Johnnie to enter a string-and-dance competition, with a scholarship and prize worth $25,000, they both have to be their best in order to defeat their rivals, Kyle (Richard Southgate) and April (Anabel Kutay). Ruby realizes the importance of music, as she says, “Music is like dance — it’s a link to the soul. It can make people laugh. It can make them cry. It can inspire.”
The movie contains romance, high-energy dancing (both classical and contemporary), fantastic music, and the theme of pursuing a dream. The acting in the movie is excellent, and we are pleased to award “High Strung” our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for ages 12-plus, and a high rating of four Doves!