The real story of a dance teacher who believed in the talent of a group of problem kids.


Liz Friedlander


Dianne Houston
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Antonio Banderas ... Pierre Dulaine
Rob Brown ... Rock
Yaya DaCosta ... LaRhette
Alfre Woodard ... Augustine James
John Ortiz ... Mr. Temple
Laura Benanti ... Tina
Jonathan Malen ... Kurd
Jasika Nicole ... Egypt
Shawand McKenzie Shawand McKenzie ... Big Girl
Dante Basco ... Ramos
Elijah Kelley ... Danjou
Jenna Dewan ... Sasha
Marcus T. Paulk ... Eddie
Brandon D. Andrews Brandon D. Andrews ... Monster
Lauren Collins ... Caitlin


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Never Follow.


Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material, language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


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 Dulaine, Banderas signed on. See more »


Since the students in Pierre's class had never competed before, they would be automatically in the newcomer category, whereas the students from Pierre's studio would be competing at higher levels of bronze, silver, gold or open syllabus. Also, the students would be disqualified from dancing moves that were non-newcomer/bronze syllabus, which several of them did. See more »


Caitlin: Look, I want to be here. Not because I'm
Caitlin: "slumming it", but because I feel better here.
See more »


Featured in Dancing with the Stars: Series 4 Semi-Final (2006) See more »


Music by Fermo Dante Marchetti
French lyrics by Maurice de Féraudy
English lyrics by Dick Manning
See more »

User Reviews

The How Do You Say.... Ahh Yessss Movie
19 April 2013 | by rooprectSee all my reviews

Are there any late 90s SNL fans out there who get the reference in my title? Chris Kattan once did a hilariously bad parody of Antonio Banderas, the idea being that Antionio is so sexy ("tooo sexy! tooo sexy! No, the bambinos!") that he can basically fondle the camera and be a hit. This film, featuring Antonio as a swave, kind-hearted, chivalrous dance instructor with impeccable taste in clothes, is the real life version of that skit. I watched this with my girlfriend, and she kept looking over to ask me if I was still heterosexual.

So yeah, tons of eye candy for fans of Antonio. Dim the lights, strap on your dancing shoes, or whatever else you care to strap on (I don't even know what that means) and enjoy the film.

The movie itself is an entertaining blend of gritty realism, fantasy dance, cute comedy and every highschool-misfits-enter-a-competition movie ever made. Much of it is predictable, but it packs enough pirouettes to surprise the audience once in a while. Included in this mostly-tame story are bits of crime, violence, domestic abuse and attempted rape which are convincingly done, due to the excellent acting by these mostly-unknown young actors.

If you don't know, "Take the Lead" is based on the true story of Pierre Dulaine, a dance instructor who decided to take on some of the roughest schools in NYC by teaching ballroom. Much of the film is dramatized, several bits are outright manufactured, but it more or less stays true to the spirit of Pierre's work. I wish it had expounded more on the philosophy behind the method (which is beautifully explained in Antonio's monologue to the angry parents), but we still get the gist.

I've read a few reviews and message board comments from people who were infuriated by the ending spectacle, and all I can say is yeah they have a point, but hey this is a movie folks. It's supposed to have some pizazz. I suppose it's the extreme blending of realism and dancing that causes the conflict. If you can go with the flow, I think you'll find it to be a fun and worthwhile flick.

If you like this sort of story (highschool-misfits-enter-a-competition), I highly recommend the Japanese flick "Swing Girls" about a bunch of nerds trying to learn jazz. On the wacky side is "Kickin It Old Skool" about a bunch of middle aged nerds who never left the 80s trying to win a dance contest. There's a million of em but they never get old, do they? "Take the Lead" is more on the serious side than the others, but hey... it has Antonio Banderas. How do you say... Ahhh yesss.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

7 April 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Take the Lead See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,775,000, 9 April 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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