5,6,7,8 (DVD Review)19 Jan, 2012 By: Ashley Ratcliff
Running your own business is a serious undertaking that requires dedication and endurance. Add to that 40 opinionated, emotional girls, and you’ve got quite a challenge on your hands. However, Jennifer Dell, artistic director for The Pulse performing arts studio in Bedford Hills, N.Y., handles the ups and downs of running a dance studio as best as one would imagine: with a lot of patience, some sweat and a couple tears. OK … many tears.
5,6,7,8 is your standard documentary about a small-down dance company and the young ladies who are groomed into true performers there. There’s a sense of community at The Pulse, which is highly esteemed in the area, so much so that parents will wait in a lengthy line and endure a hectic process to enroll their children at the studio.
Nova Jazz is the elite club of high school-age dancers. As would be expected, the troupe is not without its shortcomings. Their teen antics of gossiping and playing favorites are rampant among the dancers. There’s also a bit of drama when the girls don’t like an edgy dance that Jenn choreographs, making them hesitant to step out of their comfort zones. It’s frustrating to watch the girls dismiss so easily what Jenn has put so much effort into creating.
But the dancers aren’t always little terrors. There are some touching moments that show the group bonding and coming into their own. By the film’s end, the girls have matured and their talents have blossomed along with them.
At times, 5,6,7,8 is reminiscent of any old reality-TV program on TLC and, as a result, sometimes failed to capture my attention. Perhaps that’s because I expected outrageous situations to arise, such as those found on Lifetime’s “Dance Moms.”