Review: Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)

Anyone can make it, if they learn how to shake it.

What I love more than anything on a Saturday night, is a tremendously good and entertaining film. Mad Hot Ballroom fills the prerequisite wonderfully.

This is a coming-of-age documentary, directed by Marilyn Agrelo, follows three classes of New York City fifth graders as they participate in a ten-week ballroom dancing program. The students learn six dances including the rumba and tango (something I can’t even manage, after eight years of dance classes), in preparation for a final competition at the Wintergarden.

As we watch these children, we see how dance becomes a part of their lives, influencing most of them for the better. And although each one comes from different economic backgrounds, they are all at that awkward stage in life.

Scenes of their dance practices are pieced with discussions between the students about the differences between boys and girls, the heartache of losing, and the joy of finally realizing your dream.

What begins as a cute and lovely tale, swings into your heart and will have you jumping for joy as the eventual winner is announced.

Updated October 7, 2010

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