Mash up Drumline, You Got Served, Rize and some Oprah-fied bromides, and you end up with this benign nonsense. L.A. street dancer DJ (Short) leaves krumping behind for college book-learning in Atlanta. The name of the ivory tower? Truth University, where DJ is wooed by fraternities to bring his wild style to their step routines, the foot-stompin’ style of dance traditionally performed by African-American fraternities and sororities. He demurs—“I don’t step, man. I battle”—until he wanders through Truth’s Heritage Hall, a shrine to all the notables (MLK, Rosa Parks...and Esther Rolle) who pledged into the Greek life.
You’ll be bored silly by all of it—the taunts, the love story, the uplift, even the dancing, which TONY step expert Cherie Dennis calls “a gross misinterpretation of black collegiate brotherhood.” Here’s a suggestion to get you through: Imagine this on a double bill with Paris Is Burning. The hyperbutch fratboys of Stomp the Yard spend a lot of time together rehearsing shirtless and sweaty, hoping to win a six-foot-high trophy. Kind of like the prize that the queens in the Houses of Pendavis and Xtravaganza in Jennie Livingston’s doc work the runway for. Guess whose moves are fiercer. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.) — Melissa Anderson