If you are looking for a movie rental, consider Mad Hot Ballroom. Here is a great review for you from Reshma Ramjattan who viewed it this weekend…

“I rented the movie Mad Hot Ballroom this past weekend and it’s definitely something I think all of you should see.

It’s a 2005 documentary about three New York City public schools learning how to ballroom dance. The film focuses mostly on the fifth graders at P.S. 115 in Washington Heights. The school has a 97% poverty rate. The ballroom dance program is free to the students and at the end of the school sessions, the kids get a chance to compete in the American Ballroom Theater Manhattan dance competition. It’s a huge deal to the kids and one even said “I like dance because everyone is nice regardless of what country they are from”.

The film starts eight weeks before the competition and shows the joys and struggles that the kids face as they make their way to the finals. The kids learn how to dance merengue, foxtrot, swing, tango and the rumba and I was amazed at how well they danced and how much drive and passion they had. It was nice to see under-privileged kids get the opportunity to participate in something as wonderful as dance. One kid said that dancing brought relationships and friendships closer. I think that’s true…I myself found that I’ve made some great friends in my class.

In the film, the male instructor was a positive influence on the students and he himself had said that he wanted the kids to see that men could be dancers too and there was nothing wrong with that. I liked that there were many positive messages in the film…hard work pays off, you can do anything you put your mind to and men and women can be good at the same things. But most of all, the film showcased that dance can be a great distraction…dance can make you happy. No matter what bad things are going on in your life, once you hit the dance floor, your worries tend to fade away. One teacher said that dance isn’t just about physical education, it’s about etiquette, other cultures and life. I couldn’t agree more.

I won’t tell you who won the competition in the end…but I will tell you that there were tears and cheers. Some of the kids who won silver in the quarterfinals didn’t make it to the semis and seeing the kids cry made me so sad. But seeing them persevere and believe in themselves made this movie worth watching. I really think you will all benefit from seeing Mad Hot Ballroom.”

Written by Reshma Ramjattan