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The second movie in the “High Strung” franchise, High Strung Free Dance, has officially made its way to theaters. A story about finding what it takes to achieve your dreams, the film includes some of today’s major dance talent including Emmy Award-winning choreographer Tyce Diorio, Ace Bhatti (Bohemian Rhapsody), and Desmond Richardson (Chicago)–there’s even a cameo appearance from Nigel Lythgoe!
One of the stars of film, Juliet Doherty (Barlow) tells us, “I’m thinking what movie-lovers want from this decade is an iconic dance film. Not only is there an incredibly diverse spectacle of dance, there is something everyone can relate to in High Strung Free Dance.”
Juliet speaks from experience. She plays a character in the film, but she has also experienced the journey from the dance studio to a major production. “A huge part of Barlow’s identity is that she grew up with her mother also being her teacher,” Juliet says. “When I first read the script, I instantly connected with so many conversations my character, Barlow, has with her mom; there are many moments I can relate to having in real life.” In fact, Juliet’s mom helped her read off-camera for her High Stung Free Dance audition.
The film even incorporates Juliet’s favorite genre of dance. “My personal favorite to dance is ballet or neo-classical pas de deux,” she says. More specifically, Juliet likes moments when she is performing a scene with another dancer. “In my experience, movement always feels elevated when I can achieve things that wouldn’t be possible without the help of a partner.”
On-screen, Juliet and her co-stars, Thomas Doherty and Harry Jarvis, are pretty serious about their suddenly successful careers, but behind the scenes, they were a little less high strung. “There was one scene we filmed at the end of a long day; probably sometime around 3 am,” Juliet mentions. “We were loopy, to say the least. We just needed to keep a straight face for long enough for Thomas to say one line. Every time we did a take, one of us would crack up. We probably did upwards of 20 takes for a 5-second scene. One of the goofiest and funniest moments we had during filming!”
Being a professional doesn’t have to be as strict as it sounds, and Juliet wants other performers who dream of being like her to know that it’s not about being like everyone else. “Don’t waste time getting caught up in comparisons and never doubt what you uniquely bring into a room,” she says. “ALWAYS speak up for yourself! I cannot stress this enough: if you want something you have to trust that you are your own best advocate.”
Juliet’s final thoughts on the film? “High Strung Free Dance is not only about showcasing the intensity and diversity of dance but also the tenacity of the artists,” she says. All of the stars we see in the film have gone through those struggles that the story highlights. Like their fans, they know what self-doubt, disappointment, deceit, and of course, success look like. “I think after seeing the movie you’ll feel the same way I did after we wrapped filming; I was reminded that intuition is almost always your best guide and taking risks are the best ways of learning.”