Mad Hot Ballroom
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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 Big Apple. Mad Hot Ballroom is a documentary which offers an inside look at this event, as well as 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… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Charming if slightly overlong."
‑ Raven Snook, Time Out
"The kids are adorable, and so is the movie."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"Inspiring and enjoyable, this docu chronicles the physical and psychological transformation of school kids of different social classes as they enter into the 'exotic' world of ballroom dancing."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"The dozen or so whom Agrelo and Sewell chose to emphasize are especially appealing, but nearly all of them are bright, thoughtful, confident and dedicated -- a heartening glimpse of the coming generation."
‑ Jim Lane, Sacramento News & Review
"For its length, it would have been nice to learn a little bit more about some of the children. Nonetheless, Mad Hot Ballroom is still an uplifting and inspiring tale."
‑ Michael Ferraro, Film Threat
"Listening to the kids talk is a treat in itself, but watching them strut their stuff in the final competition is enough to make you stand up and cheer."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Clearly, the dance lessons are life lessons as well, nurturing self-confidence, team spirit, the joy of dancing and even a slight touch of Old World etiquette in an otherwise too-busy- to-be-courteous world."
‑ Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A sweet, and utterly entertaining portrait of children learning about confidence, achievement, skill, and also understanding the game of the sexes at such a young age."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"In all its unscripted glory, it shows us pre-adolescence with an astonishing authenticity that should be the envy of a hundred coming-of-age movies."
‑ Carolyn Arends, Christianity Today
"While Agrelo pushes a little too hard at times the attitude of the kids and the enthusiasm with which they perform dance makes it well worth a look."
‑ Joe Utichi, FilmFocus
"It's kind of like the dance version of that documentary Rock School."
‑ Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper
"Aside from being perfectly irresistible, the movie is also deeply inspiring, especially for children."
‑ Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"Charming, poignant and festive "Mad Hot Ballroom" is an inspirational documentary that shows the power of dance to invigorate self-esteem and ambition in young hearts."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"Cute, comical kids help make this ballroom dancing comp-romp a feelgood winner despite inexpert editing."
‑ Anna Smith, Empire Magazine
"It's a tale of tears, triumph and tread-upon toes; it may wear you out, but it'll put a spring in your step too."
‑ Matthew Leyland, BBC
More reviews for Mad Hot Ballroom on Rotten Tomatoes