Definition: The term “Stomp the Yard” refers to the traditional dance or “Stepping” that Black Fraternities and Sororities perform. Stomp refers to the actions base of the Stepping. The Yard refers to the center or Courtyard on campus where a lot of the Stepping takes place. Most often times on Campus the Frats and Soror’s will put on Step shows to showcase their skills."
The first scene does not waste any time to show you dancing as the opening credit scene serves as the backdrop of the whole movie set up. In an almost all Black and White Hue, we see an underground dance competition with hundreds of people. The dances are mostly based on the L.A. “Clown” or “Krump” dancing. As the scene takes place in L.A. The scene is chaotic as the contests is all driven my money, power and respect. We see that this evening’s bouts are held at the Home “Field” of a rival dance troop as they are good and are wiping up the competition. Watching all the action is the Goon Squad, headed up by brothers DJ (Columbus Short) and Duron (Chris Brown). After the home squad wins another, the Goon Squad takes the stage to challenge. A bucket is passed around for wagering. Both Squads add a stack of money to the pot. The battle starts and it’s a fierce bout as you can clearly see the two squads don’t like each other. Each squad has about 7-8 people in that, including female dances who often go head to head. After a few minutes, the crowd has to decide the winner. The home team is shocked as the Goon Squad takes the prize. Not being satisfied with the results, the losing squad offers double or nothing as drops more money in the bucket. Duron is happy with the win and turns down the challenge. DJ pulls him aside to try to convince Duron that they can’t win it again without out him. Duron still does not want to compete again, but does not want to leave his brother behind. This time the “combat” is more energetic and personal. Duron does a move that wows everyone in the building (Important later) and on that move alone; the Goon Squad is declared winners again.
After the battle ends, the Goon Squad leaves and walks home. The group is ambushed by the very team that just defeated, as their leader demands their money back. It’s a pretty even fight until the leader of the losing squad pulls out a gun and shoots Duron, killing him on the spot. Not only did he lose his brother, but DJ was arrested over the fight for Disorderly Conduct and a few other charges. His mother has a Brother Nate who is the head of Maintenance at Truth University in Atlanta. DJ takes the train from L.A. to Atlanta where Nate picks him up. He now lives with his uncle Nate and aunt Jackie who’s a real estate agent. They live a nice quiet life. DJ is given a job on Nate’s Crew as well as a scholarship to Truth. At Truth, while registering, DJ is smitten at the sight of April (Megan Good), he loses his place in line while trying to pursue April, he not only loses her, but also loses his place in line. Later that Day on Campus, DJ sees April again and runs up on her to start a conversation. While they’re talking, April’s boyfriend Grant walks up, they kiss and DJ is looking like a chump. She introduces DJ to Grant, but Grant knows a snake when he sees one. He tells DJ to stay away from April. DJ finally moves in to his dorm room, this is where he meets his roommate Rich Brown (Ne-Yo). Rich tells him about a gathering on campus, basically it a change to meet girls. At the gathering, Theta Nu Theta is having a step show, everything is going good until rival Frat Mu Gamma Xi shows up and steals the show. The Gamma’s make it known that they are the 7 Time defending National Step Champions, this kills the Theta’s spirit. During the Step show, DJ spots April again and runs over to her. This time he run right through the Gamma’s step line, almost getting into a fight with Grant and a few other Gammas. DJ is warned again. DJ is invited by Rich and his friends to the local club.
The club DJ announces that it’s “Rep your Hood” night so there’s a chance for people from other cities to represent where they’re from. He shouts out to St Louis, NYC, Philly, Miami, etc…. Grant takes center stage and is dancing very seductive to another woman, April walks in and see the whole thing. She doesn’t look too happy and Grant see’s this and walks over to April to explain he was simply dancing. April is still not happy and while they’re talking, here comes DJ who tells April she does not have to be treated like that. Grant warns DJ again and then goes back to the dance floor. DJ takes this opportunity to show Grant up. DJ runs a leaps onto the dance floor and challenge Grant. The crowd is stunned by this unknown who just challenged Grant, one of the best dancers at the school. Before DJ takes aim on Grant, he showcase his moves by going to different people in the crowd and doing a dance that’s popular in that particular person’s city. Everyone loves it and then he goes after Grant. He does a few moves that mock Grant and the crowd goes wild. Wild enough that Grant does not dance back. Now it’s known all around that DJ has skills. The very next day, DJ is hard at work doing some gardening on campus. DJ is approached by Grant, two other Gammas, and Zeke who is the Gamma’s campus President. Zeke orders the other two Gamma’s to finish DJ’s work while they take a walk. Zeke was impressed by his dancing and extends an invitation for DJ to join the Gammas as Grant may have been shown up, but knew DJ could be an asset because of his dance moves. DJ simply tells Zeke, “Pussies Step, I Battle” Zeke and the Gammas just walk away. Later on DJ is studying and is now approached by Sly, the leader of the Theta's. DJ already knew or thought the Theta's wanted him because he could dance. SLY told him that yes, he can dance, but unlike the Gamma’s, he isn’t an automatic lock to join the Theta’s, he would have to earn a right to pledge Theta. He was told if you don’t know anything about what a Frat brotherhood is about he should pay a visit to Heritage Hall, a building dedicated to the Men and Women who were in Fraternities and Sororities.
DJ as if it’s not known, really like April, he finds out that she’s a Tutor. He goes to the Tutor scheduler to arrange a session with April. She tutors history and it appears that DJ doesn’t even have a history course, but just want to be near her. During the session, DJ offers April a dinner invitation. DJ tells April to ask him anything about the lesson and if he get’s it right, she’ll go to dinner with him. While at dinner, he tells her he notices everything about her. She asks him what her favorite color is. He replies that she always wear green eye shadow, she wears a Green ring and her car is green so the obvious choice is green. He’s correct and she’s impressed. They end up dancing and kissing.
He visits Heritage Hall and sees all the prominent people that paved the way in our country like MLK, Rosa Parks, Corretta Scott King, ETC. Now we’re at the going over ceremony where the pledges are actually made into members. The Gammas are having their ceremony and it’s interrupted by the Theta’s, just as the Gamma’s broke into the Theta’s show previously in the movie. All the new Gamma’s members are revealed. Then all the new Theta’s are revealed and DJ is among them. His Frat name is Knucklehead and he does a quick step dance to show the Gamma’s that their title is now in Jeopardy. After that, DJ is seen working on campus, he’s driving a riding lawn mower. Grant and some Gamma’s are laughing at him, just when it was getting really funny to Grant, he see DJ pull up to April on the mower. April laughs and jumps on the back of the mower and DJ and April rides off. The smile is quickly taken off Grant’s face.
Now we see both Gammas and Theta’s rehearsing for the Championships. The Theta’s looked very sloppy and can’t seem to get the steps down. The Gamma’s are all about precision and looks sharps. Both Frats often change locations to ensue they are not being watched. DJ and the rest of the new Theta’s continue to practice when DJ offers up a few new moves which the crew does well. Sly walks in on then and is upset about DJ teaching them moves that they won’t need. DJ refutes that these moves are the next new thing. Sly challenge DJ to a battle between the Theta’s, New School against Traditional. The battle will commence at the club. At the club, the battle was even and DJ took it upon himself to take matter in his own hands and dance a solo. Problem was this was a team competition and his little stunt cost them the victory. Now all the Theta’s was upset at DJ. He swallowed his pride when thinking about his brother who always did what was best for the team (Goon Squad). He went to the Theta’s and apologized, and to his surprise, Sly asked him to show them some of his moves. Meanwhile April and Grant are at this swank restaurant and Grant proposes to April. She was shocked, but before she answered, she ask him what her favorite color was. He guessed three times and got them all wrong. She walked out on him.
The Theta’s are now rehearsing in an empty indoor swimming pool. After rehearsal, everyone leave except DJ. He throws on a beat and thinks about Duron while doing some crazy dance moves, all the while DJ is being recorded by one of the new Gammas who’s up in the building rafters. April goes to DJ’s dorm and tells him that she has broken up with Grant. DJ says he can cheer her up by taking her to the best place to get fried chicken. He drives to his Aunt and Uncles house. April thinks he just making a quick stop, but this is the place where they can get that Chicken. All four are sitting in the yard at the table. DJ brings it up that April is the daughter of Dr. Palmer, the school’s Dean. It is not shown, but it’s apparent that Grant went and told Dr. Palmer that April left him for DJ. DJ’s uncle Nate has a complex look on his face when he hears this. Next we see Nate at work while Dr. Palmer drives by and gives him a dirty look. DJ is in class when he is summoned to the Dean’s office. DJ is told he cannot see April anymore if he plans to stay in school. Also the Gamma’s run a background check on DJ and found out he was arrested in the fight where is Duron was killed. The Gamma’s take their finding to the school board who suspends DJ for the rest of the year. Dr. Palmer tells DJ he can be reinstated if he agree’s to stop seeing April. Again DJ refuses and accepts that fact that he can’t go back to school. He goes home and tell his Aunt and Uncle. They sit him down and explain something that happened in the past. Dr. Palmer and DJ’s Aunt Jackie dated while both attending Truth back in the day. Jackie then met Nate and fell in love with him. So Dr. Palmer has it in with Nate for this reason.
This is the Day of the Competition, and DJ is at home felling down about the whole situation. Jackie decides to pay Dr. Palmer a visit. He tells her that her life could have been so much better if she married him instead. She tells him her life is just fine. He tells her that April’s life would be more secure with Grant. That’s when April walks in after hearing everything and mentions to her father that since her mother had died, she was the only one he has left, and now he lost her. Fearing the loss of his daughter, Dr. Palmer reinstates DJ. April drives to his house to tell him the news.
The Championship has begun and the Gamma’s and Theta’s both do an excellent job. It ends in a tie between the two Frats. Now it’s time for a dance off and each team has chose one dancer to set it off. Grant tells Zeke he can do it (because Grant has studied the tape of DJ that was recorded). Of course DJ shows up in the nick of time and Sly wants him to win it for the team. After a couple group dances, it comes down to Grant and DJ. Grant goes first and does DJ’s exact dance routine from the tape and DJ knows something isn’t right, but DJ isn’t fazed. After Grant finishes, DJ put on the gloves of Duron (they flashback showing Duron wearing them when he danced and when he died). DJ is all up in Grant’s face doing move after move.
Then the Theta’s are all huddled on stage, DJ runs into the huddle and then thrust his body backwards, sliding towards the Gamma’s. In the same motion, he pushed his body up in the air in sort of a handstand position, he stops while balancing himself on his elbow, showing strength and agility to even get into that position from sliding backwards. He holds the position before rolling out of it, wowing the Crowd and the Judges who names the Theta’s victorious. It was the same move that Duron achieved in the beginning of the movie that won its match that ultimately got him killed. DJ is mobbed by the Theta’s and April runs out to kiss him. The scene is captured in a still black and white photo that appears on the wall at Heritage Hall.
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