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
This is a feel-good movie. You will enjoy it, laugh, maybe even cry, despite being able to predict what is going to happen. Banderas does a nice, understated job and the actors portraying the urban kids are outstanding. I didn't like some of the camera angles and chafed at the dance shots often being too close up to really see what the moves were, but the choices in filming undeniably added to both the realism and the energy of the scenes.
Altho based on a true story, one has to wonder how much was added for dramatic effect. Some of the relationships/developments seem just too trite and stereotyped -- and yet the portrayals are enjoyable enough that ultimately you don't care. After the number of times audience members laughed or exclaimed over scenes or lines in the movie, I was surprised that they didn't clap at the end -- it's that kind of movie. It reminded me of both Strictly Ballroom and Stand and Deliver. You won't be sorry you've seen it.
64 of 75 people found this review helpful.
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