Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) lives in a foster home with two other foster children. He is from a poor part of Baltimore. Here both parents often have to work hard just to make ends meet, and kids find entertainment by doing things such as stealing cars for fun. He and his best friend Mac (Damaine Radcliff) and Mac’s little brother Skinny (De’Shawn Washington) break into a school and start trashing the theatre. They are caught halfway through the act by a security guard. Tyler sends Mac and Skinny away and ‘takes the rap’ for all of them.

He is sentenced to 200 hours community service at the school he trashed. This turns out to be Maryland School of the Arts. At first he is both intimidated and unimpressed by the students and their classes. But when a pretty girl called Nora (Jenna Dewan) catches his eye, he begins to take an interest in what is going on around him. When Nora’s partner sprains his ankle, and is unable to dance with her in an important performance, Tyler offers to help out.

The two young people realise that although they are from very different backgrounds, they might be able to help each other achieve their dreams.


Juvenile crime; death of a sibling; social class


  • At a party, a man grabs Tyler by the throat and they fight.
  • Another man draws a gun and threatens to shoot Tyler.
  • Skinny is shot and killed.
  • A security guard aggressively tackles Tyler to the ground.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

Children in this age group could be disturbed by the violent scenes descibed above.

From 8-13

Skinny’s death and the grief expressed by his mother, Mac and Tyler could be particularly upsetting for this age group.

Over 13

Some children could be disturbed by the above scenes, and could possibly benefit from discussion of themes.

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Some alcohol consumption

Nudity and sexual activity


Product placement

The following products are used in this movie: an Apple Mac computer and a BMW car.

Coarse language 

This movie contains some mild coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

The main message in Step Up is that once you have a goal, it’s important not to give up, but to stick with it until you achieve what you want.

You might like to discuss with your children the following values represented in the movie: 

  • teamwork
  • the importance of listening to others
  • taking responsibility for your actions
  • understanding and tolerance
  • loyalty and friendship. 

You could also discuss the importance of deciding what you want in life and making a plan to get there.