Reviews

Mad Hot Ballroom

4

Given that successful docs are a triumph of editing over hours recorded, it's odd that no offcuts should appear on Marilyn Agrelo's euphoric pre-teens dance-off - this is a disc as vanilla as they come. And yet...

Inspired by an article written by producer Amy Sewell about the positive effects of New York's Dancing Classrooms programme, Agrelo hand-picked and trailed pupils from three very different state schools - in hip Tribeca, impoverished Washington Heights and hearty Italian/Asian Bensonhurst - from the first moment they took the classes. Initially wary to spend time in the company of the opposite sex, the kids (alternatively coaxed and pummelled by their enthusiastic and/or ambitious teachers) slowly find their dancing feet. By the time the citywide competition rolls around, they're foxtrotting like crazy... and dropping candid one-liners you couldn't hope to script. Spellbound comparisons are valid - when the final arrives you'll be out of your seat...

 

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