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Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)

Cast: Victoria Malvagno, Victoria Malvagno, Michelle Rodriguez, more...
Director: Marilyn Agrelo, Marilyn Agrelo
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Studio: Paramount
Genre: Documentary
Running Time: 105 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Every year, the New York Public School system sponsors a dance competition for youngsters in fifth grade; in this contest, boys and girls ages 10 and 11 learn traditional ballroom dancing styles such as the fox trot, the rumba, and the tango, and then pit their skills against other students from around the Big Apple. Mad Hot Ballroom is a documentary which offers an inside look at this event, as well as the teachers and students who take part, with a particular emphasis on three schools: P.S. 112, in a Bensonhurst neighborhood dominated by Italian and Asian families; P.S. 150, located in the wealthy and fashionable Tribeca district; and P.S. 115, a Washington Heights school where the vast majority of families live below the poverty line. Filmmaker Marilyn Agrelo follows the young dancers as they gain confidence and skill and grow into "little ladies and gentlemen," as one teacher puts it, while also examining how cultural differences impact the competition for some students and how the boys and girls feel about the opposite sex as they begin to make friends with one another. Mad Hot Ballroom received a wildly enthusiastic world premiere at the 2005 Slamdance Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

A Dance of--and to--Life by talltale October 16, 2005 - 6:02 AM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
A certain critical theory goes like this: Since MAD HOT BALLROOM offers us a look at NYC schools from the Washington Heights ghetto to the rich of Tribecca, it could have been a great film (one that included more of the social, economic and whatever) instead of merely being enormously entertaining and legitimately feel-good. But it didn't, and it is. And what's here is so spectacularly pleasurable--much more than I, for one, imagined--that you might as well just give in, rent it, sit back, get to know these teachers and their students and watch the kids, initially halting and insecure but finally dancing up a storm. Hot, indeed! Ballroom has seldom looked better or been more fun.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.95)
58 Votes
add to list New List

Lady Athletes
or L'Athletes... if you will. Missing from the catalogue: Wildcats and Heart of the Game.
Let me see your paso doble
A shameless request for ballroom dance movies, in the form of a list. Send me your favs, and I'll add them.

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