Posted by: lindsayhumbert | February 24, 2009

Mad Hot Ballroom

Mad Hot BallroomMad Hot Ballroom was one of those movies that you want to like, and for the most part I did. Despite transitions of B-roll of New York City that I thought were irrelevant other than it being the setting because they didn’t add much and were unrelated to the main focus of dancing.

I liked how they introduced the dance practices at each school through a combination of showing the kids at the lessons and interviews with the students, teachers, and parents. I liked how the talks with the children addressed issues that affect their lives, such as safety and the opposite sex. It helped create a sense that the dancing, while the focus of the film, was in the grand scheme of things, only a small part of their lives. This is not to say that ballroom dancing was not an unimportant part.

Showing the kids dancing during their free time and seeing their emotions leading up to, during, and following the competition is evidence of how much dancing now means to these kids and the effects it can have on their lives. I liked how at the end during the competition some of the teachers talked a little bit about the positive transformations that some of the dancers underwent because of the ballroom program. However, that was the only part I liked about the end that was, otherwise, devoid of the interviews that I had liked so much in the beginning. While I understand wanting to show the outcome of the competition, I thought that it got boring and dragged on, begging to be edited down into a somewhat briefer summary. Also, I was left wanting more of a similar conclusion on the kids from the other schools that did not make it to the finals.

The other part I didn’t like was when they had one teacher giving an interview with her class at their desks in the background. The difficulty of the combination of setting and questions being asked caused the teacher to break down in front of both the camera and her students, which made me as an audience member uncomfortable.

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