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5... 6... 7... 8 (2010)

Theatrical Poster #2
Director:
Andy Milkis Andy Milkis
Starring:
Jennifer Dell Jennifer Dell

5.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Documentary, Visual Arts
"5...6...7...8" is a feature-length documentary that captures the emotions and excitement of a year in the life of Nova Jazz, an elite girls dance company. The dancers, ranging in age from 10 to 18, are based out of The Pulse Performing Arts Studio, in Bedford Hills, NY. Opening with Registration at the Pulse, Jennifer Dell, Artistic Director and Owner and in her late 30s. She is a married mother of two, is the choreographer for Nova Jazz. She hand-picks new members from the 500-plus students at the Pulse, and few of them have what it takes to survive the year. From there, we meet the new Nova captains, and see how they cope with leadership, and the infighting that nearly tears the group apart. In addition to parties and sleepovers, we travel with Nova as they perform at Six Flags, the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, DC, dance festivals, shopping malls and more. The film culminates with the year-end concert. For the older girls, this concert is their last performance with Nova. For the younger ones, it is a rite of passage that marks their transition from apprentice to full member. 41 girls. 10 performances. 104 rehearsals. 473 costumes. 2,197 miles. One incredible year. Spend a year with Nova Jazz. --IMDb
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Review by Tobes
Added: March 14, 2010
This is the first documentary I've reviewed on this site, so this review will be a little different then the other ones I've done so far. The rating part at the end will basically just be a summary of how the documentary "flows" as a documentary and what can be gained from it, and the review itself will mostly just be about some of the details of the film.

5...6...7...8 is about the Nova Jazz Group out of The Pulse dance studio, headed by Jennifer Dell, who's both the owner as well as the teacher. It also follows the captains of two of the dance teams (Nova Jazz / Nova Jazz 2) and their opinions on the dances, the other girls in their troops, the costumes, etc. The film starts with the application process of the girls for the class for the year, and all of the drama involved in that. The film starts with some funny scenes right in the beginning as a few of the moms throw a fit during application time, and it takes off from there. Most of the film is in the same vein, where it's very informative about Nova Jazz itself, with a few comical moments thrown in here and there. As it progresses, the film shows a few of the dance recitals, the training from month to month, any drama that happens to come up, and the fun times as well.

One of the things you'll see as the film progresses is that Jenn genuinely cares about all of the girls who she works with. She's very motherly to all of them, even though she still has her strict moments, and she always has the girls best interests in mind in both life and dance. It's always nice to see people who truly care about their craft and dedicate themselves to it, as well as someone who loves teaching it out to others, and trying to pass that love on to others. The more she talks in both the classroom setting, and to the camera separately, you'll see more and more how much the whole school means to her.

The girls in the program and their interactions with each other are definitely the stars of the film to me. From what I can tell, the age ranges are probably from about 10 to 18 years old, and they all act how I would assume young girls act during "fun times". They shriek at boys, they have sleepover parties, they complain about their makeup...all of the stereotypical usuals. The ear-piercing shrieks that came out of my computer when they went to see "So You Think You Can Dance" were truly something to behold. There's also a whole bunch of interviews with the captains through the film, and they're usually very revealing into the actual world of this dance program, as well as life issues that the teenage girls are going through at the time of the film.

I think the best thing that can be said about this documentary is that even if you don't like the subject matter, you can still find 5...6...7...8 highly entertaining. I was watching the movie while talking to some friends on voice chat, and I had to laugh out loud a bunch of times and share what was happening in the movie. The funniest thing I can remember offhand, is the one girl saying "I think I almost shit my pants" in the same tone someone would say "Hi, my name is _____" when she found out that the group was going to watch So You Can Think You Can Dance. She also later busted out another gem with the same amazing delivery, saying "Yeah...When does her left tit NOT pop out." The fact that I was so enthused to share a jazz documentary, whether it was about the film itself or just the people shown within it with friends of mine tells me that the movie was extremely well put together, and I guess also shows that everyone involved in the project (the girls + Jenn) all have a LOT of fun with what they're doing.

One last life lesson that I'd like to share that the owner Jenn shared in the film....

Smile or die.

9/10.
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