A group of 12 teenagers from various backgrounds enroll at the American Ballet Academy in New York to make it as ballet dancers and each one deals with the problems and stress of training and getting ahead in the world of dance.
In New York, the polite dance instructor Pierre Dulaine sees a black teenager vandalizing the car of the director of a public school and on the next day he volunteers to teach dance to students to give respect, dignity, self-confidence, trust and teamwork. The reluctant director Augustine James offers the troublemakers that are in detention expecting Pierre to give-up of his intentions. Pierre struggles against the prejudice and ignorance of the students, parents and other teachers, but wins his battle when the group accepts to compete in a ballroom dance contest. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Antonio Banderas and Laura Benanti, whom both star in this film together, were previously on Broadway together in the 2003 Revival of Nine the Musical. Banderas received a Tony Award nomination for his role in this production. See more »
In a lot of the scenes in the cellar in which they keep the bad students, a microphone that appears to be on a track shows in most of the shots. See more »
Attended a premiere of the film yesterday without knowing anything about it, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Along the lines of similar films regarding inner city schools and the use of fine arts to motivate students, this film chooses dance as its educational medium. It provides a realistic examination of true life in the New York public school system, and of New York City in general...no "Sex and the City" or "Friends" glamor here. I applaud this film for its casting of Antonio Banderas as the teacher who really cares for his student's lives in a world of despair. He does a great job conveying the inner struggle of a person who yearns to offer their help despite limited resources and support. Meanwhile, the students that make up his class are relative unknowns, but all are fantastic dancers with acting skills to match.
Even if you are not a fan of either Hip Hop/Rap or Ballroom/Jazz/Ballroom styles of music and dance, this film will have your foot tapping and imagination wandering..."maybe after some lessons, I could dance like that". Both worlds are depicted with accuracy and realism, allowing followers of either genre to spy on the other.
For parents looking for the suitability of this film for their children, I would say the minimum age should be 13-ish. Other than the odd curse word or gun play, there is not much else to worry about. The benefits and moral lessons taught by this movie far outweigh the negative aspects.
If you've ever secretly wanted to join a dance class, this film will (hopefully) push you past your fears and have you dancing in no time.
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