Reviews

Mad Hot Ballroom

4

Strictly Ballroom meets Spellbound in a charming doc about New York pupils learning to foxtrot and merengue in the run-up to a citywide competition. Focusing on three classes from public schools in Brooklyn, Tribeca and Washington Heights, we may never get to know the children as individuals but together they create a multi-ethnic portrait of pluck, determination and grace that transcends their differences.

The climactic dance-off is a suitably tense affair but director Marilyn Agrelo ignores the trauma of the ones who don't get that far. And while one headteacher has an almost fanatical craving for victory, the film preaches a different message, embodied by a tearful teacher telling her charges winning isn't everything. But that won't stop you rooting for the "little ladies and gentlemen" as they hoof their way to triumph. Prepare to be Tango'd!

 

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