Mad Hot Ballroom is a documentary about students of several New York City elementary schools who learn ballroom dancing and then compete in a city wide dance competition, all via American Ballroom Theatre's Dancing Classrooms project.
The good: MHB follows three sets of students in three different schools. You really get to know these kids, from the first fumbling steps, to the selection of kids for the competition, and the final competition. I was disappointed as teams lost and jumping up and down at wins.
I was also impressed with the schools, the teachers, and the students, who allowed the cameras to follow them over the several weeks of learning, practice, and competition. I grew up in the suburbs, and this was a glimpse into a different world. Actually, three different worlds because of the three different schools that are highlighted.
Also good: these students are around ages ten and eleven, that cusp before becoming teenagers. We hear their dreams, their hopes, their fears. You root for each kid -- and keep your fingers crossed, even tho you know -- as the 3 teams move closer to the finals -- that there can be only one winner.
I liked this so much it's going on my DVDs I wish I owned wish list (the only thing holding me back: no extras.)
Final note: and yes, I'm quite jealous! These kids are much better dancers than I am or could hope to be. I always confuse my left and right foot.
Liz, I LOVED this movie. I think I saw it before I started my blog--or I just forgot to blog about it--but I thought it was fantastic for all the reasons you captured. My fave part: "People say ten-year-old girls have the most freedom" discussion. Also, I loved the smooth dancing boy (Walter? William?) and the way he just kept on going despite the homophobic taunts of the other boy (who actually was a good dancer too). What a super movie!
I fell in love with these children; I think that's why I wanted extras, to know more about them & their lives, to see what was happening. And while this one focused on the dancing, I would love for this to turn into a 7 Up type of series, revisiting the kids in all these schools every 7 years or so to see if these lessons & experiences were indeed life changing events in their lives.
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