Wanna be a better person? Wanna get motivated to be kind? Wanna find the energy to reach out and touch someone? Wanna feel better about your neighbors, the future, America?
Sashay over to your nearest art house theater and let the new feature documentaryMad Hot Ballroom seep into your soul. Hearkening back to the fabulous and heartwarming National Spelling Bee 2003 doc Spellbound, MHB records the people engaged in starting a ballroom dancing program in NYC grammar schools. The film is funny, poignant, charming and engaging. Spellbound was a slightly better film because of its structure and more intent focus on particular chilren in the competition, but MHB is still a beautifully executed project.
The movie revolves around ten year olds in NYC, and the professional dancers who, for the last few years, have been teaching them ballroom dancing. I love, love, love the emphasis in the movie on artistry and beauty. It is wonderful to watch the children move from awkwardness toward each other, to acceptance, and then trust and then friendship. There is a beautiful theme in the film about the differences between men and women - which is articulated both by the ten year olds, and then, by their teachers.
As with Spellbound, this film had those of us in the audience crying, laughing and cheering, and then sitting in the dark, watching all the credits go by, to acknowledge the gift that the film brought to all of us through the kindness of filmmaking strangers. Undeniably, "reality cinema" has much to offer us.
Go see this movie. I give it two high kicks, a swirl and a bow.