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
Originally, Antonio Banderas turned down the part of Pierre when he looked at the script and realized the whole film was about ballroom dancing. The producers begged him for a few minutes for them to explain the story. After hearing this, viewing a documentary on and meeting the real Pierre, Banderas signed on. See more »
At the dance competition Dulaine lets Rock borrow his Tux coat. Dulaine is much smaller than Rock however, the coat looks over sized on Rock when he's on the dance floor. See more »
I saw this film on March 28th, 2006 in Indianapolis. I am one of the
judges for the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award. A
Truly Moving Picture " explores the human journey by artistically
expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland
gave that award to this film.
The setting is a rundown high school in a poor minority neighborhood in
Manhatten. The students have a challenging family environment. Their
parents are depicted as mostly unemployed and drunks, drug users,
prostitutes, and low-lifes. Their children reflect this environment.
They hide their low self esteem with bravura, petty crimes, slang,
rudeness, indifference and, above all, their love of hip-hop music.
By accident and fate, Pierre Dulaine (Antonio Banderas) walks into the
Principal's office. He is challenged to work with the
worst of the students as a volunteer in the detention hall after
school. Pierre is an ex-professional ballroom dancer and runs a
ballroom dancing school. He decides to get to the kids with ballroom
dancing. His competition is hip-hop music and hip-hop dancing and the
ghetto, chip-on-the-shoulder attitudes.
Pierre tackles his assignment with presence. He is impeccably dressed,
polite, and exudes intensity and confidence. Over time and with
difficulty, he starts to bring the troubled teens up to his level. He
never goes down to their level. And then he challenges the teens with a
city-wide ballroom dance contest, and the story takes off.
Pierre attempts to give hope to the students by having them make good
choices. Pierre's tools are his own spirit, grace, sacrifice and charm.
He wills his way into getting respect from the students.
The movie has the same inspirational feel as "Mad Hot Ballroom" but is
much different. This film is fiction and about older students and is
much more edgy and brutal.
While the film is occasionally edgy and dark, the music and dance makes
this strangely a light and entertaining watch for most of the time. And
the music and dance are eclectic from Gershwin to 50 Cents and from
Tango to slow motion Breakdance.
FYI There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a
listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either
at the theater or available on video.
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