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SPIRITUAL FOCUS ON MOVIES
DANCING IN THE STREET
FROM THE DRAMATIC OPENING IMAGES of the fiery 1965 and 1992 riots in South Central Los Angeles, RIZE announces itself as a film that refuses to let go of the viewer until the very last frame. And it doesn't. The grit of the inner city permeates this documentary as vividly as any of the young cast members who blaze across the screen in dance moves that seem to defy the laws of physics.
First, we meet Tommy Johnson, a former drug dealer who reformed while in prison and got out wishing to do something positive with his life. A friend asked him to perform as a clown at a kid's birthday party, and out of such modest beginnings, Johnson, now Tommy the Clown, turned his dance moves and clowning into an original artistic movement that has swept the streets of South Central in a torrent of color, energy, and creativity. The young people who follow Tommy the Clown to perform their dancing truly do rise above the many pressures of the streets.
Along with a vibrant, nonstop soundtrack, the photography in this documentary shines as luminously as the radiant faces of the young dancers who move at such astonishing speeds that the trailer announces: "None of the scenes have been speeded up." Through brilliantly edited dance scenes and on-camera protraits of the various dancers, filmmaker David LaChappelle captures the positive energy and commitment of these young people. And that commitment extends to seeing themselves as role models for the next generation. "We're not a trend," says one of the dancers. Another talks about wanting to set an example for younger kids—not to model packaged, "commercial hip-hop" nor push values connected to money, drugs, and violence, but rather to inspire constructive ways to develop oneself.
Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.
with contributions from ROBIN PRYOR, MARGARETE HOLENDA, CAROLYN HILL, BEVERLY J. LARSON, SHIRLEY PLOUGHMAN
'The peace that passeth all understanding'—right now
MARILYN JONES, SENIOR WRITER
ITEMS OF INTEREST
with contributions from Kate Kellaway
Wiping the slate clean
By Margaret Rogers
'Beauty for ashes of the vanished years'
By Tony Lobl
I got a 'next time'
By Evan Mehlenbacher
LOOKING FOR YOUR DREAM HOME?
By Beverly Peake
LIFE GOES ON
By Marlene Chatterton
WINNOWING BREEZE OF SPIRIT
JUST KEEP CLIMBING
DANCING IN THE STREET
FOCUS ON GOD, NOT ON THE RECORD BOOKS
THE TRULY CLEAN SLATE
LUNG CONDITION DISAPPEARS QUICKLY THROUGH PRAYER
FEAR AND PAIN HEALED
'NOTHING COULD HINDER MY PROGRESS'
PATRICIA SEBASTIAN HULBER