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Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)

The students of several New York City elementary schools learn ballroom dancing and compete in a city wide dance competition.



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8 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Heather Berman ...
Emma Therese Biegacki ...
Eva Carrozza ...
Evangelina Carrozzo ...
Paul Daggett ...
Graciela Daniele ...
Herself - Final Competition Judge
Pierre Dulaine ...
Himself - Organizer and MC of the Final Dance Competition
Leslie Freu ...
Herself - Teacher PS 112
Tara Devon Gallagher ...
Charlotte Jorgensen ...
Herself - Final Competition Judge
Rodney Lopez ...
Victoria Malvagno ...
Stacee Mandeville ...
Terri Mintzer ...
Herself - Teacher PS 144


Eleven-year-old New York City public school kids journey into the world of ballroom dancing and reveal pieces of themselves and their world along the way. Told from their candid, sometimes hilarious perspectives, these kids are transformed, from reluctant participants to determined competitors, from typical urban kids to "ladies and gentlemen," on their way to try to compete in the final citywide competition. Providing unique insight into the incredible cultural diversity that is New York City, this film profiles several kids from three schools (out of 60) at this dynamic age, when becoming that "cool" teenager vies for position with familiar innocence, while they learn the merengue, rumba, tango, the foxtrot and swing. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Anyone can make it if they know how to shake it.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

1 July 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Forró táncparkett  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$45,348 (USA) (13 May 2005)


$8,044,906 (USA) (18 November 2005)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the first Nickelodeon Movie to be a documentary. See more »


Tiny boy with curly hair: A girl and a boy loving each other, you know, really loving each other and being together and
[waxes lyrically for a while]
Tiny boy with curly hair: ... It is very beautiful!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Some of the children add their observations about life in film clips during the credits. See more »


Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Always a Godmother, Never a God (2005) See more »


by Peggy Lee
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Superb documentary about far, FAR more than dance
27 July 2005 | by (Lawrence, KS) – See all my reviews

NYC has a 10 week Phys. Ed program that teaches ballroom dancing to 5th graders. Some of those kids can elect to join a team, similar to one in football, basketball, track, etc. -- of inter-school competition. This documentary follows the development, training, and competition of some of those teams.

While learning to dance and the competition is the overlying central theme of the narrative, the film is about far more.

Fifth graders will be typically six years old PLUS their grade level -- so most will be about eleven while some are 12 and a few are 10 years old. These students are at -- or a few degrees either side -- of the cusp of puberty. That stage is also graphically reflected in their heights --some are barely above 3 feet while others approach six. Many of the kids come from neighborhoods in which most are disadvantaged, crime ridden, and fractured families while some are from the reverse.

The film brings back to us what it was like to be a kid (and maybe wonder which of those we see here that we would have been most like?), the whole process of learning, of growing up, of the transition of thoughts and expectations kids have about what lies beyond puberty, the relation between caring adults (teachers) and children, the emotions teachers have about the ones they lose and the ones they win, etc.

I've often wondered if -- maybe -- many of us have a hidden, secret talent -- to be a Serena Williams, a Yo Yo Mah, Carol King, W.H. Auden, Charles Eames, etc. -- but our hidden talent has never been discovered.

The NYC program filmed here discovers some of those talents that would otherwise remain hidden. And this documentary shows, through the lens of dancing, some of the process of a crucial stage in human development and our dependence on our peers and empathic teachers/mentors.

And all of this is done without a voice over narration. At times I was a little confused about which kids of which school we were watching. But I learned to relax -- it's the panorama that's most important.

Great film.

It takes "Spellbound" as a model and advances it.

I'd welcome seeing 50 films of this quality a year.

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