Making the Grades
Battling for supremacy on the streets goes to a new level when rivals clash on the dance floor. In an underground club, DJ Williams (Columbus Short) and his friends spar with another group for a large pot of money at an urban dance off in an inner city Los Angeles' neighborhood. But the competition spills onto the street and leads to a brawl that results in the shooting death of DJ's younger brother Byron (Justin Hires).
Arrested and convicted for his involvement in the crime, DJ avoids juvenile detention only when someone pulls strings and gets him enrolled at Georgia's prestigious African American Truth University.
The relocation from the West Coast to the humid southern institution isn't an easy one for the often-arrogant DJ and it's not long before he gets into trouble at a local club after making a move on the girlfriend (Meagan Good) of a well-known frat boy, Grant (Darrin Henson). The confrontation escalates when the new arrival embarrasses the boyfriend on the dance floor by strutting his award winning street style.
DJ's novel moves also get noticed by two campus fraternities who are vying for their own dominance at an upcoming National Fraternity Step Show. (This competition features highly choreographed routines based on the ancient African Boot Dance, and include complicated hand and foot moves performed in unison.) As leader of the Mu Gamma Xi, Zeke (Laz Alonso) wants to ensure his organization maintains their long running title. On the other hand, Sylvester (Brian J. White) and the Theta Ne Theta fraternity are courting DJ in hopes he will propel them to an upset win at the contest.
Unfortunately, shaking camera shots and erratic editing mar the film's amazing athletic displays, making it difficult at times to even see the moves. Sporadic profanities, the bloody murder of DJ's brother and some fistfights may be a concern for families along the crotch-grabbing choreography employed by some of the performers and off-stage condom discussions.
Under the tutelage of his chosen fraternity, DJ does learn to put aside his standoffish attitude and embrace a team mentality. He discovers he can become part of the brotherhood while remaining true to his individual ideals. While that message may be a worthwhile one for older teens stepping out on their own, Stomp the Yard's predictable plot disappoints as it plods along without any of the remarkable twists or leaps seen on the dance floor.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Stomp the Yard.
Wondering what “Step Shows” are all about? To learn more about the dancing in this movie, check this page: http://www.collegeview.com/articles/CV/hbcu/step_shows.html