7.5/10
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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.

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8 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Heather Berman ... Herself
Emma Therese Biegacki ... Herself
Eva Carrozza ... Herself
Evangelina Carrozzo ... Herself
Paul Daggett ... Himself
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 ... Herself
... Herself
Charlotte Jorgensen ... Herself - Final Competition Judge
Rodney Lopez ... Himself
Victoria Malvagno ... Herself
Stacee Mandeville ... Herself
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

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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 »

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Release Date:

1 July 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Forró táncparkett  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,348, 15 May 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,044,906, 20 November 2005
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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

White chubby kid: My religion does not allow me to dance, and Mouhamed's does not allow him to dance either, so we have really enjoyed being DJs.
Mouhamed: Everybody has been very nice to me, although... I am... from another...
[hesitates]
Mouhamed: country.
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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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User Reviews

Let's Dance!
8 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

It's been two glorious weeks for us award-winning teachers. Last week I reviewed the documentary Rock School, a raucous romp with teens from Philly grooving Zappa all the way to Germany. This week's Mad Hot Ballroom shows the NYC public schools competing for top honors in ballroom dancing, a required course that lets students and teachers, supplied by the American Ballroom Theater, strut their best stuff in the tango, rumba, meringue, and foxtrot.

Like last year's Spellbound, everyone gets to show competitive spirit with low-level anguish at losing and testosterone-fueled joy at winning. The strength of Ballroom is the enthusiasm of teachers who have little to gain but the biggest prize of all—the success of their charges. Fairly absent is the dominance of stage-door parents in the spelling competition. Ballroom better captures the harmony that pervades a group project where the human body gracefully expresses its glory and young people experience perhaps for the first time the wonder of collective activity that ties them to peers and teachers and effaces their natural youthful loneliness, delinquent temptations, and fear of losing.

Some will criticize Ballroom for showing too many contestants and thereby losing the intimacy documentaries thrive on. Yet, the eventual winners stand out from the first moment they appear, almost exonerating director Agrelo from the intimacy requirement; also, that communal experience is better explained through the roving camera and long shots of their dancing. Although Ballroom may be too long by as much as 15 minutes, I admit I would have liked to linger more with some of the children to see how their lives have been changed by the experience; Agrelo lets the voice over take care of a couple of histories.

Cinematographer Claudia Raschke's camera, held level with the children's faces, does its own winning dance with us as viewing partners. You'll want to put on your dancing shoes after this film.


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