Review: Michael Damian’s ‘High Strung Free Dance’, Energetic & Engaging
Image: Jill Johnson/JPI
Young and Restless alum’s latest effort draws you in and leaves you wanting more.
Actor Michael Damian, best known to daytime audiences as The Young and the Restless’ Danny Romalotti, a role he has played since 1983 and most recently reprised in 2013, is set for the release of his latest movie, High Strung Free Dance, and Soaps.com was able to watch a screener to review. Damian, who is also a musician, singer and Broadway star, joined his wife, Broadway star Janeen Damian, to once again team up to write, direct and produce in the follow-up movie to their 2016 film High Strung. The husband and wife team have also collaborated on films such as A Princess For Christmas, Flicka: Country Pride, and Hallmark’s The Sweeter Side of Life, and we can reveal they have already started work on the third movie in the High Strung series.
High Strung Free Dance stars Thomas Doherty (Descendants 2, The Lodge) as brilliant choreographer, Zander Raines, who takes a chance on two undiscovered talents while casting his Broadway production, Free Dance. Harry Jarvis (The Dare) is Charlie, an innovative young pianist and actress/dancer Julie Doherty (Driven to Dance) plays Barlow, a striking young contemporary dancer. Famed actress Jane Seymour reprises her role of Oksana from High Strung and is Barlow’s mother.
Set amid the bustle of New York City, the characters of Barlow and Charlie charm within the first few scenes as they struggle in their respective day jobs while striving to get their first big break. Each manages to get noticed in their own unique way by Zander, which is how they end up involved with Free Dance. When Zander takes a special interest in Barlow and makes her his muse, their onscreen chemistry is captivating; when they danced together it was like making love, I don’t think I took a breath throughout. Of course, Barlow also caught Charlie’s eye, and this lead to issues, especially as Zander, a rather mercurial personality, begins to make controversial decisions. Barlow is relatable and upbeat as the object of the men’s affections and Charlie has a sweet side storyline in the friendship he forges with Rose, a recluse who can no longer play her beloved piano.
The movie is chock full of energetic dance performances from Bollywood to tap and was particularly adept using music and dance as expressions of the characters’ emotions throughout. There is also a cameo from So You Think You Can Dance’s Nigel Lythgoe. High Strung Free Dance is a feelgood movie, but with plenty of drama and intensity and an ending that leaves you fully in the moment and wanting more.
High Strung Free Dance opens nationwide on October 11.
Video: ONE Media/YouTube