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Review by John Delia

The movie High Strung Free Dance is jam packed with music, dance and song from show to club to street with a story thread that may feel familiar, but who cares. I love how the film comes together, and each of the characters are heartwarming with roles that are genuine. From high energy to sublime and hip hop to free style the dancers are brilliant, stunning, fluid and magnificent. Whether you are a lover of the dance, a fan of romance or just want to unwind and imagine for few hours, this film is like medicine for the dreamer. It may be something for the ladies, but if you have a man around the house, watch out there’s some very nice eye candy as well. It’s stunning and passionate and now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.

Talented dancer Barlow (Juliet Doherty) has been searching for a chance to show her abilities and get a real job on Broadway. But, for now she’s a telemarketer just about meeting her rent and other bills. Tryouts have been tough with near misses becoming common and she longs for the day she will be chosen. On this one day however, during an audition for “Free Dance”, a commissioned show for Broadway, she makes a gutsy move and gets noticed by Zander Raines (Thomas Doherty) the director. It gets Barlow a spot in the chorus line.

Harry Jarvis as Charlie Knight Juliet Doherty as Barlow in HIGH STRUNG FREE DANCE from GVN Releasing

In a side story Charlie Knight (Harry Jarvis) has been living day to day as a bagel shop delivery person. He’s an excellent piano player, but in New York City where they are a dime a dozen, he’s had very little work in his chosen profession. On a fateful day the worlds of Barlow, Zander and Charlie collide and start to intertwine, opening up a path for all three to try and reach Broadway success in the Big Apple.

Magnificently directed and co-written by Michael Damian, who brought the original High Strung to the screen, he continues to amaze with dance and music. I like the competitive edge in this all new film rather than the first. The only thread between the two films however, is Jayne Seymour who plays the dance instructor at the Manhattan Conservatory of the arts and mother to Barlow. The romance that’s turns into a love triangle adds some nice drama. Beyond that it’s the audience’s treat of a new cast, new dances, stronger wills and a romance that burns up the screen. But, expect the unpredictable.

Juliet Doherty as Barlow in HIGH STRUNG FREE DANCE from GVN Releasing

While it may seem a bit of incest, it’s NOT as the cast has two main characters with the same last name, Thomas Doherty as Zander and Juliet Doherty as Barlow. It’s a bit odd as they share a steamy lip lock romance on the screen, but I assure you that they are not related. The only relationship they have is the chemistry between them and are very talented in the field of dance. It’s a melding of the best in the business and it shows in the film. You may recognize Thomas however, as he played in Disney’s Descendants 2 and the recent Descendants 3 as Harry Hook son of Captain Hook.

The camerawork is also a cast member showing the actors exciting and artistic talent as they dominate the stage. While half the experience comes from seeing the player’s show off their skills, it’s the lens that records it all and does so with close-ups and broad strokes that make the show an extravaganza of entertainment. You’ll also be treated to some awesome views of New York City including the Central Park area and the Theatre district.

Juliet Doherty as Barlow in HIGH STRUNG FREE DANCE from GVN Releasing

“Behind the Scenes” with Michael Damian the writer and director of High Strung Free Dance as he talks about the experience of working with the amazing actors, dancers and music. Choreographer Tyce Diorio gives his views on the routines Actors also chime in and include Desmond Richardson who plays Sammy, Harry Jarvis as Charlie, Jayne Seymour as Oksana and others. Janeen Damian co-writer and producer adds some thoughts about her experience when she was a dancer as well.
“Interview with Composer Nathan Lanier” he wrote the music for High Strung Free Dance and how he wrote music for many different types of dance, swing to ballet to tap to hip hop.
“Masterpiece” a music video performed by Thomas Doherty
“Liar” a music video performed by Hooked Like Helen

Harry Jarvis as Charlie Knight in HIGH STRUNG FREE DANCE from GVN Releasing

High Strung Free Dance has been rated PG for some language. Mom’s there is some kissing and hugging, so beware if young daughter is joining you at home for a night out at the movies. Other than that, the film’s full of amazing dancing, music and romance.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Perfect for lovers of the arts. (4 out of 5 stars)

Specifications and additional video information
Cast: Jayne Seymour, Thomas Doherty, Ace Bhatti, Joshua Sinclair-Evans, Nigel Lythgoe, Juliet Doherty, Kika Markham, Harry Jarvis
Directed and co-written by: Michael Damian
Genre: Dance, Musical, Romance
MPAA Rating:  PG for some language
Running Time: 1 hr. 43 min.
Video Release Date: February 4, 2020
Original Theatrical Release Date: October 11, 2019
Language: English
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: 5.1 Surround
Video: 16×9, Aspect Ratio 2.39:1
Subtitles: Closed Captions, English SDH
Distributed by: GVN Releasing
Released on: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Vudu and more

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