“BREAK THE STAGE”, the movie, tells the story of troubled and self-centered teen who must earn the respect of her step team before she can lead them to the National Championship.

“Break the Stage” is the adaptation of the novel of the same name by Erik V Wolter. It tells the story of Tia Lewis, a troubled teen at an urban Florida high school, who struggles to win her father’s approval and the respect of her step team, only to discover she must confront her own faults before she can lead the team to the Nationals. Tia’s journey of self-discovery includes an ensemble cast of multi-racial high school students, each with their own personal issues, who clash with Tia’s style and her inability to deal with the death of her mother and her father’s unrealistic expectations.

TIA, (Katrina Tandy) is the leader of the Carver High step team that includes a variety of dancers, including her friend and drama-queen, DESIREE (Kerine Jean-Pierre), shy Latina and academic super-star, LUISA (Vanessa Giorgi), wannabe-gangsta, TJ (Ekandem Essiet), ROTC and Thespian, EDBIRTO (John Jeffrey Arias), and one-time school drop-out, CARLA (Brittany Bascone). Homeless street dancer, BOBBY (Josh Randall), clashes with Tia at the outset, but becomes a focal point of the story after he auditions for the team.

“Break the Stage” sends the message: Freedom is more than a legal status. Freedom means the chance, the ability, and the means to pursue our dreams.

But for Tia, as a black girl and supposedly free today, she couldn’t help but wonder if slaves back then didn’t want more than just being legally free.

“Being free won’t guarantee people will respect you. Being free doesn’t mean people will respect your dream of what you want in life… what you want to be. Where does that come from? How do you get anyone to listen?”

Denied the freedom to communicate, against the rules of their owners, slaves clapped their hands, stomped their feet, and uttered sounds to preserve their culture. Step, or Greek Letter Style Stepping is a form of dance, innovated over 700 years ago of Afro centric origin. It has been modernized and popularized since as early as the Harlem Renaissance by historically African American fraternities and sororities, beginning in the early 1900s.