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MAD HOT BALLROOM
USA: Paramount Classics
UK: Metrodome Distribution
Cast: P.S. 112 Tribeca: Allison Sheniak, Alex Tchassov, Emma Biegacki, Tara Devon Gallagher, Cyrus Hernstadt, Zeb Liburd, Richard R. Brown IV, Jao-Ke Chin Lee, Willie C. Gantt, Dominic Guglielmo, Quana Jones, Celia B. Ortiz, Zelaina Rodriguez, Nile Roc Terry
P.S. 150 Bensonhurst, Brooklyn: Victoria Malvagno, Michael Vaccaro, Jia Wen Zhu, Priscilla Kwong, Ariel Escoto, Sharese DeBiasi, Benjamin Feng, Mohammad Hussein, Nathalie Perez, Bleron Samarxhiu, David Wong, Jean Xiaoyi, Sherry Zeng
P.S. 115: Yomaira Reynoso, Rodney Lopez, Wilson Castillo, Jatnna Toribio, Elsamelys Ulerio, Kelvin Acevedo, Joshua Duran, Jeffrey Espinal, Kevin Heredia, Kelvin Munoz, Angie Toribio
Director: Marilyn Agrelo
USA: 110 mins
UK: 105 mins
USA Rated: PG for some thematic elements
UK Certificate: U contains no sex, violence or bad language
USA Release Date: 20 May 2005 (Limited Release - wider)
USA Release Date: 13 May 2005 (Limited Release - New York)
UK Release Date: 25 November 2005
MAD HOT BALLROOM is an inspiring look inside the lives of eleven-year-old New York City public school kids who journey into the world of ballroom dancing and reveal pieces of themselves along the way. Told from their candid, sometimes hilarious perspectives, they are transformed from typical urban kids to "ladies and gentlemen," as they strive toward the final citywide competition.
Providing unique insight into the incredible cultural diversity that is truly the soul of New York City, first time feature filmmaker Marilyn Agrelo profiles several kids from three elementary schools who are at this dynamic and intriguing age - when becoming that "cool" teenager vies with familiar innocence while learning the merengue, rumba, tango, the foxtrot and swing.
In Tony Tribeca, P.S. 150's kids are verbally confident, intellectually street-wise and multi cultural. Last year's class brought the school to the semi-finals, but failed to go on to the finals. This year's team hopes to set a new precedent and take home the prize.
Washington Heights' P.S. 115 presents a pool of uniformed kids in stark facilities. What this working-poor Dominican immigrant neighborhood lacks economically, it thrives in culture, color and a zest for life. Last year's team placed Gold, but just missed winning the giant first place trophy. This year, they're out to take it all with a vengeance.
P.S. 112, in flavorful half-Italian, half-Asian Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, provides great comedy, as these kids accept ballroom dancing into their lives with much enthusiasm and lots of heart. Parents and friends rally around these exuberant children as they try their best while reminding us what's really important in life.
Scenes from their training, rehearsals, pep talks, and intimate episodes with the students, along with the lively action from the exciting competitions, provide a very close and personal look into the lives of these hopeful children and their parents.
The film celebrates these intricate lives and reminds us of what it was like when anything was possible. Living with the complexities of big city life, these kids take on something unfamiliar and rise to the occasion. Filled with emotion and triumph, this documentary feature is a resounding exclamation point for growing up in America.
MAD HOT BALLROOM is directed by Marilyn Agrelo and produced by both Agrelo and Amy Sewell based on a feature article written by Sewell.