Mad Hot Ballroom

Mad Hot Ballroom

Infobox Film
name = Mad Hot Ballroom

caption = "Mad Hot Ballroom" film poster
director = Marilyn Argrelo
producer = Marilyn Argrelo
Amy Sewell
Brian David Cange
writer = Amy Sewell
starring = Madeleine Hackney
distributor = Paramount Classics
released = May 27, 2005
2004 [ [ Film Search - Variety ] ]
runtime = 106 minutes
language = English

"Mad Hot Ballroom" is a documentary film by director Marilyn Agrelo and writer/producer Amy Sewell about a ballroom dance program in the New York City Public School system.

Tango, foxtrot, swing, rumba and merengue may seem to represent the last vestiges of a dying art to some, but Agrelo proves this is far from true in "Mad Hot Ballroom". Agrelo and Sewell reveal that the New York City public school system runs a ballroom dance program for fifth graders, in which these former preserves of the adult world are given a new lease on life.

The documentary premiered at the 2005 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and was purchased by Paramount Classics and Nickelodeon Movies. It is the only Nickelodeon film to be released by Paramount Vantage. "Mad Hot Ballroom" was the second highest grossing documentary in 2005 after "March of the Penguins". [mojo title|id= Mad Hot Ballroom|title=Mad Hot Ballroom] As of July 1, 2008 it had earned over $8.1 million, making it the ninth-highest-grossing documentary film in the United States - (in nominal dollars, from 1982 to the present).cite web
title=Documentary Movies

Rating: MPAA: PG; BBFC: U


Based on a feature article written by Sewell, "Mad Hot Ballroom" looks inside the lives of eleven-year-old New York City public school kids who journey into the world of ballroom dancing and reveal pieces of themselves along the way. Told from the students' perspectives, the film highlights the cultural diversity that is the soul of New York City as the children strive toward the final citywide competition.

The film chronicles the experiences of students at three schools in the neighborhoods of Tribeca, Bensonhurst and Washington Heights. The students are united by a zeal for the ballroom dancing lessons, which builds over a 10-week period and culminates in a competition to find the school that has produced the best dancers in the city. As the teachers cajole their students to learn the intricacies of the various disciplines, Agrelo intersperses classroom footage with the students' musings on life; many of these reveal an underlying maturity. Gender and race boundaries disappear as focus on the competition consumes the students' energy, and the teachers are brought to tears as they see their prodigies turning into what one teacher touchingly terms "little ladies and gentlemen." [ [ Mad Hot Ballroom Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes ] ]

"Mad Hot Ballroom" celebrates the intricate lives of these students and reminds audiences of their own childhoods when anything was possible. Living with the complexities of big city life, these kids take on something unfamiliar and rise to the occasion. Filled with emotion and triumph, this documentary feature captures the essence of growing up in America.

The Cast

* P.S. 150 Tribeca dance team members are Emma Biegacki, Tara Devon Gallagher, Cyrus Hernstadt, Zeb Liburd, Richard R. Brown IV, Jao-Ke Chin Lee, Willie C. Gantt, Dominic Guglielmo, Quana Jones, Celia B. Ortiz, Zelaina Rodriguez and Nile Roc Terry.

Allison Sheniak is the classroom teacher; and Alex Tchassov, a Russian native, is the teaching artist from American Ballroom Theater, the organization that provides the instruction.

* P.S. 112 Bensonhurst dance team members are Michael Vaccaro, Jia Wen Zhu, Priscilla Kwong, Ariel Escoto, Sharese DeBiasi, Benjamin Feng, Mohammad Hussein, Nathalie Perez, Bleron Samarxhiu, David Wong, Jean Xiaoyi, Sherry Zeng.

Victoria Malvagno is the ABrT Teaching Artist.

* P.S. 115 Washington Heights dance team members are Wilson Castillo, Jatnna Toribio, Elsamelys Ulerio, Kelvin Acevedo, Joshua Duran, Jeffrey Espinal, Kevin Heredia, Kelvin Muñoz, Michell and Angie Toribio.

Yomaira Reynoso is the classroom teacher and Rodney Lopez is the ABrT teaching artist.

American Ballroom Theater Dancing Classrooms

New York City-based American Ballroom Theater’s (ABrT) Dancing Classrooms is the nonprofit organization that has been providing instruction in American-style ballroom dance to currently over 60 public schools in New York City. [ [ American Ballroom Theater] ] The program was introduced in two schools 10 years ago. In 10 weeks (20 one-hour sessions) the kids absorb a repertoire that includes the merengue, foxtrot, rumba, tango, swing and a couple of line dances thrown in just for fun.

The schools are then given the choice to compete. These competitions (quarterfinals, semifinals and final) are called Rainbow Team Matches. About 48 schools choose to compete and only nine (one representative from each borough) make it to the final competition. Each dance team is made up of five couples, one for each of the five dances, and one alternate couple who must know how to do every dance well in case a couple is absent.


Awards bestowed upon "Mad Hot Ballroom" include: [ [ IMDB Award List] ]
*The Christopher Award in 2006
*Best Documentary at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2005
*The Audience Award at the Philadelphia Film Festival
*Satellite Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2005


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ - Dancing Classrooms]
* [ Mad Hot Ballroom on Box Office Mojo]

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