Film: Add to the list of offbeat competition documentaries like the spelling bee in Spellbound and the foxtrot battle of 2005’s Mad Hot Ballroom, an involving tale of inner-city Baltimore and the precision step dance contest, called simply Step. But far more is at stake at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, a recent charter school that strives not only to graduate its entire senior class, but to place all of its students in colleges. No wonder the flashy dance moves take a back seat to the personal and academic struggles of these girls. Director Amanda Lipitz takes us into the classrooms, the step rehearsals and the students’ homes to deliver this remarkable, emotional non-fiction story. At area theaters.
Theater: Playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer, first showcased by Florida Stage, is now being produced all across the country. Her recent densely packed, thought-provoking drama, Informed Consent, was well received off-Broadway and now gains its area premiere at GableStage in a production directed by the author. Like many of her plays, it puts a human face on a complex social issue, specifically the tension between science and belief systems, as a genetic anthropologist (Betsy Graver) gathers blood samples from a Native American tribe to study their DNA without permission. While that sounds like a clear-cut case of her overstepping professional bounds, Laufer shows us that there are no easy answers. Go see Informed Consent with someone you will want to argue the matter on your way home. Through Aug. 27. Call 305-445-1119 for tickets.
Art: The Boca Raton Museum of Art has opened several new exhibits this month, which is unusual for an area that caters to seasonal crowds. Works by two strong individualists, Cuban-born Carlos Luna, and Palm Beach-based Patricia Nix are on view through Oct. 22 (Nix) and Dec. 31 (Luna), along with a photography show from the bequest of Isadore and Kelly Friedman. Nix creates works in the collagist and surrealist traditions, while Luna offers works on paper that he calls “deep line drawings” that are infused with the folk styles of his native Cuba and Mexico, where he lived before moving to Miami in 2002. The Friedman collection, the largest bequest of American and European art ever given to the museum, features images by the finest photographers of the medium, including Margaret Bourke-White, Edward Steichen, Brassai, and Eugène Atget. Visit bocamuseum.org for more information.
Editor’s note: The posting of this story was delayed by technical difficulties.