7.5/10
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65 user 83 critic

Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)

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

Director:

Marilyn Agrelo

Writer:

Amy Sewell
8 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

1 July 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Forró táncparkett See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,348, 15 May 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,044,906, 20 November 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Just One Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The three schools that the film follows are: PS 150 from the affluent Tribeca area; PS 112 from the primarily Italian and Asian area of Bensonhurst; and PS 115 from Washington Heights, a Dominican neighborhood where over 97% of the residents live below the poverty line. See more »

Quotes

Alex Tchassov: Let's use this trick, eye-to-eye connection, I am serious. Take a look at each other like
[it is for the]
Alex Tchassov: last time in your life.
Kids: Aw man, no!
Alex Tchassov: Ok. What is problem?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Version of Take the Lead (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

FEVER
by Peggy Lee
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Strictly Ballroom without the bitchin'
20 August 2005 | by Chris_DockerSee all my reviews

There's not many documentaries where you can barely keep a dry eye throughout, but this is one of them. A New York dance project for kids gives them a ten week course in ballroom dancing. We follow especially children (ten-year olds) in Washington Heights, disadvantaged kids that would mostly grow up to be on the street, unsuccessful or criminals.

What is uplifting and so beautiful to watch is not so much what they learn about dancing (though some of them become almost awesome), but what they learn about themselves and each other. "I see them turning into ladies and gentlemen" remarks one of the teachers.

As someone with a passion for dance, I would enjoy it anyway, but the box office success of this film proves that it moves non-dancers and dancers alike. Watching the kids prepare and enter the competition, we see the euphoria of winning and the pain of losing, and coping with it. We see them develop a positive and objective self-image of themselves, and develop a dialogue with their classmates that was absent at the beginning. Teachers show how their behaviour records in some cases have been turned around as they are able to achieve a higher opinion of themselves and see qualities in each other that they didn't see before.

Swayze used to say that dance is a communication, one that existed before language. My own experience mirrors that, and so does the interaction of the children in this film.

Go and watch it - better still go and watch it with your kids if you have some.


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