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NARRATIVE FEATURE | 94 MIN | 2004

THE DANCE CHALLENGE

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Set on the streets of Paris, this dynamic musical comedy brings us an original mélange of classic Hollywood musical storytelling and France's growing hip-hop movement. World-renowned choreographer Blanca Li, who also wrote and directed, plays Elena, an ex-dancer, single mother, and owner of a posh Paris boutique, whose teenage son David (Benjamin Chaouat) has one passion: to lead his group of hip-hop street dancers to victory in a club competition that will propel them to the world finals in New York. When David runs away from home, Elena abandons her career and goes on a hilarious adventure that takes her out of her luxurious surroundings and into the streets and clubs of Paris. She soon finds herself wooed by Manzon (Marco Prince), the young DJ of her son's rival troupe; her dormant dancing skills are reborn as she blends her classical style with hip-hop (exactly as Li has done in her own dance career); and she shocks her son by meeting him in the final. Will the Challenge drive them further apart, or finally bring them together? What sets this nouveau-musical apart from recent American counterparts like Save the Last Dance are the brilliantly choreographed dance sequences that suddenly burst forth mid-scene with beautiful energy, harking back to the golden age of musicals Li obviously adores. Additional kudos go to Li for addressing class issues, and for positively representing the cultural diversity of French urban youth. The invigorating street choreography will have audiences of all ages dancing in their seats.
Film Information
Year: 2002
Length: 94 minutes
Language: French
Country: France
Premiere: New York
Cast & Credits
About the Director(s)
Choreographer and dancer Blanca Li, born in Granada, Spain, joined the New York Martha Graham School at 17, and has since established the Blanca Li Dance company based in Paris, touring extensively on European stages. She has choreographed work for the Paris Opera (Sheherazade and Les Indes Galantes) and for the New York Metropolitan Opera (Don Giovanni). She directed the Berlin ballet at the Komische Oper for one season. She also made a memorable appearance in Almodóvar's Kiki. After the success of her hip-hop show, Macadam Macadam, Li wrote and directed The Dance Challenge, her first feature film, already a hit in France. She has just finished writing her second musical comedy.

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