Speaking of films that make you want to sway and whirl to the beat of the music, the best one Netflix brought to its subscribers is probably (and arguably) Sooni Taraporevala’s “Yeh Ballet”. Even though its latest original dance drama “Feel the Beat” may not reach the same level, its refreshing take on certain aspects does make it enjoyable, especially for young dancers.
April Dibrina (Sofia Carson), the protagonist of “Feel the Beat”, is a talented but self-centred and arrogant Broadway dancer. The film begins with April waking up on a fateful morning and getting ready for her audition. To get there in time, April pushes an old lady into the rain and steals her taxi. Karma strikes later when she learns the old lady is in fact the director of the audition she was to attend. Banished from Broadway and evicted from her apartment in the big city, April has no choice but return to Wisconsin and live with her father.
One day opportunity comes knocking on her door when April bumps into Miss Barb (Donna Lynne Champlin), her first dance teacher, who gives her a job training a group of misfit children to win ‘Dance Dance Dance Dance Competition’. “Miss Cold-Hearted” accepts the offer, only because she wants to perform in front of Wellington ‘Welly’ Wong, another big producer in Broadway and the only person who can save her career. April’s dancing class starts badly, but little does she know that it’s going to change her heart and life forever.
Sharing a few plots with some well-known dance and music dramas, “Feel the Beat” is quite predictable, displaying young enthusiastic dance artists gamboling to the top. However, most of it, including the unique actual dance performance and soundtracks, are refreshingly good. Also, apart from the dance, the film’s coming-of-age aspects invoke a sense of hope, love and achievement among the young souls, especially those who dream about a career on Broadway. The misfit characters in the group coached by April sends a message that personal problems such as being overweight or disabled are not hurdles too large to overcome to achieve one’s dream as long as hard work, patience and commitment are present.
Meanwhile, Sofia Carson, who plays the protagonist, is the best actress casted in this role. She brings out the personality and attitude of her character so realistically and naturally. This means viewers will feel like throwing whatever in their hands at the scenes where she is doing mean things such as insulting her students for being misfits or cares only about her image on stage. However, viewers may also feel really happy for her and the children when her relationship with them improve. In addition, she seems to have good chemistry with all her supporting actors, especially Enrico Colantoni, who plays April’s father and Wolfgang Novogratz as Nick, April’s ex-boyfriend.
To sum up, “Feel the Beat” is not only a film which children should watch but also something you should consider watching to feel good, especially amid the pandemic.