A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Do you know the steps to merengue, rumba, foxtrot, tango, or swing dancing? I don’t, but many eleven-year-old students in New York sure do; they get ballroom dancing instruction from the American Ballroom Theater’s Dancing Classrooms program, and they take it seriously. For ten weeks they learn the dances and prepare for competitions. The best team wins the city trophy for its school. Only one school wins the competitions, but all the students benefit: school pride is raised, each student’s sense of accomplishment is strengthened, and they learn how to dance, which will stick with them forever. The cameras of Mad Hot Ballroom followed teams from three schools closely through the 2004 dance season, so moviegoers get to see the students from first lessons to the final competition, witnessing all the missteps and frustrations of children just beginning to mature. They also see what can be accomplished when dedicated people care enough to work with students in all economic classes.
Review by Rick