Mad Hot Ballroom

( 6 )

Overview

Every year, the New York Public School system sponsors a dance competition for youngsters in fifth grade; in this contest, boys and girls ages 10 and 11 learn traditional ballroom dancing styles such as the fox trot, the rumba, and the tango, and then pit their skills against other students from around the city. Mad Hot Ballroom documents the 2004 program, focusing on the teachers and students who take part, with a particular emphasis on three schools: P.S. 112, in a Bensonhurst neighborhood dominated by Italian ...
See more details below
DVD (Wide Screen)
$5.99
BN.com price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (DVD)
  • All (7) from $5.50   
  • New (5) from $5.50   
  • Used (2) from $18.62   

Overview

Every year, the New York Public School system sponsors a dance competition for youngsters in fifth grade; in this contest, boys and girls ages 10 and 11 learn traditional ballroom dancing styles such as the fox trot, the rumba, and the tango, and then pit their skills against other students from around the city. Mad Hot Ballroom documents the 2004 program, focusing on the teachers and students who take part, with a particular emphasis on three schools: P.S. 112, in a Bensonhurst neighborhood dominated by Italian and Asian families; P.S. 150, located in the wealthy and fashionable Tribeca district; and P.S. 115, a Washington Heights school where the vast majority of families live below the poverty line. Filmmaker Marilyn Agrelo follows the young dancers as they gain confidence and skill and grow into "little ladies and gentlemen," as one teacher puts it, while also examining how cultural differences impact the competition for some students and how the boys and girls feel about the opposite sex as they begin to make friends with one another. Mad Hot Ballroom received a wildly enthusiastic world premiere at the 2005 Slamdance Film Festival.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
Mad Hot Ballroom is the new Spellbound, a thoroughly charming, uplifting, and inspiring documentary that celebrates youthful perseverance. In contrast to the pressure-cooker setting of the national spelling bee, though, filmmakers Marilyn Agrelo and Amy Sewell chronicle the annual fifth-grade ballroom dancing competition in New York City’s public school system, concluding with a citywide competition held at the World Financial Center. The scenes of the boys and girls taking their tentative first steps to learn the merengue, the foxtrot, and the tango are irresistible. But Mad Hot Ballroom isn't just about dancing. As one teacher notes, the program -- now serving 6,000 students from more than 60 schools -- is “about etiquette and knowledge of cultures. It’s life.” It’s also about universal rites of passage, as students from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds share their thoughts. It is especially moving to see the children gain confidence in their abilities and become, as another teacher notes, “ladies and gentlemen.” The students from a school in Washington Heights -- the most recently immigrated and poorest kids in the contest -- carry the underdog banner, and it’s hard not to root for them. By the time Mad Hot Ballroom reaches the climactic competition, it’s impossible not to feel the eliminated dancers’ heartbreak, and the winners’ exhilaration. There are no villains in this documentary, and the dedicated teachers at each school burnish the image of public education while making a very strong argument for arts instruction.
All Movie Guide
If Mad Hot Ballroom did nothing else right, it would be worth watching just for the priceless pairings of gawky, grinning ten-year-olds, forced to make eye contact and hold hands at an age when they're still allergic to each other. Marilyn Agrelo's documentary features a United Colors of Benetton array of these children, an especially heartening sight in post-9/11 New York. But however appealing it may be watching them transform into more disciplined versions of themselves -- or, failing that, just shake a leg for awhile -- Mad Hot Ballroom falls short of its potential. Part of the problem is that Agrelo makes too few decisions about which footage to include and where to direct our attention. For starters, the movie contains 20 more minutes of interchangeable competition scenes than it should. But more crucially, it never develops a clear portrait of any of its young dancers. The boy who emerges as the star, even appearing on the movie poster, is never actually interviewed -- either as a result of his shyness, or his inability to speak English, which the use of a translator could have resolved. Meanwhile, greater screen time is doled out to less interesting kids, seemingly because they blabbered more entertaining sound bites. The most engaging moments actually come off the dance floor, when the children talk about their lives and social interactions, revealing some telling observations and character traits. If this focus on the film's shortcomings seems too particular, it's only because Mad Hot Ballroom is so close to being something truly grand. It just needed a good editor, which would have provided a more judicious sampling of key moments and characters. As is, the film must be enjoyed mostly on the surface level -- which, admittedly, is an easy enough way to enjoy it.
Los Angeles Times - Kenneth Turan
A documentary experience to savor. Warm, funny and very difficult to resist, this engaging film combines the charm of Spellbound with the kinetic energy of Strictly Ballroom in a way that will make you want to laugh, cry and do a little dancing yourself, maybe all at the same time.
Daily News
This winning documentary about fifth-graders who learn ballroom dancing is one of those movies that make the world a brighter place. Jami Bernard

A documentary experience to savor. Warm, funny and very difficult to resist, this engaging film combines the charm of Spellbound with the kinetic energy of Strictly Ballroom in a way that will make you want to laugh, cry and do a little dancing yourself, maybe all at the same time.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/21/2013
  • UPC: 883929313693
  • Original Release: 2005
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount Catalog
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 25,334

Cast & Crew

Technical Credits
Marilyn Agrelo Director, Producer
Joseph Baker Score Composer
Tammy Douglas Sound/Sound Designer
W. Wilder Knight III Associate Producer
Sabine Krayenbuehl Editor
Steven Lutvak Score Composer
Claudia Raschke-Robinson Cinematographer
Mark Reynolds Musical Direction/Supervision
Amy Sewell Producer, Screenwriter
Read More Show Less

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Mad Hot Ballroom
1. Introducing the Schools [:22]
2. A Quick Merengue [:20]
3. Boys and Girls [4:09]
4. Tired Students [3:50]
5. Tango [4:23]
6. Being a Kid [4:25]
7. Dancing for Fun [6:13]
8. Quarterfinals [1:11]
9. Good Experience [4:02]
10. Practice, Practice, Practice [7:36]
11. Looking Back [:34]
12. Manhattan Semifinals [7:07]
13. Defending Champs [7:26]
14. The Final Competition [5:09]
15. Colors of the Rainbow [3:22]
16. Going for the Gold [4:14]
17. Challenge Trophy [1:06]
18. The Indigo Team/End Credits [7:06]
Read More Show Less

Menu

Disc #1 -- Mad Hot Ballroom
   Play
   Scene Selection
   Set Up
      Subtitle Options
         English
         None
   Previews
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful!

    This documentary is one of the best I've seen in a long time.
    I is about inner city young people who earn extra credit learning to dance. And dance they do!

    The film will take you from clumsy beginning to spectacular end with other schools competing for the coveted trophy.
    You find yourself cheering for your favorite group.

    The most interesting thing was how everyone of the youngsters changed. They became more confident and and studious in their other classes.

    You must see this film, it will lift your spirits and brighten your day.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Uplifting, Sweet and Inspiring Tale

    I watched this last night with my ten-year old daughter and she can't stop talking about it. A "must see" for any child, or adult, who has a love of dance and a passion for the arts. The documentary made us laugh, cry, and get up and do some of our own moves! We were clapping at the outcome and conclusion. It is entertaining, but also sparks some good conversation about the different ways children live and the message that no matter what obstacles you face, with hardwork, passion and determination you can be successful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing

    Be prepared to laugh, cry, clap, and dance your way to seeing the world in a different light. Wow. Amazing!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantastic

    This is a charming documentary. Worth seeing and owning.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantastic!

    This movie is simply wonderful. It is inspirational, moving, funny, and it certainly will make you want to dance! The music is great, the kids are fun to watch and their spirit is infectious. Anyone who works with kids (teachers especially) ought to see this movie. These kids in NY Public Schools finally found motivation in something and for some of them, may help to turn their lives around and stay on the right path. This is such a heartfelt movie and you will find yourself rooting for the kids as they make their way into competition. Great great movie, I recommend it to everyone!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Wonderful

    I saw this at the Traverse City film festival during the summer of 2005 and this is a wondeful movie. I enjoyed every minute of this uplifting and and enchanting film.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews