Mad Hot Ballroom

Dance is everywhere. Summer TV has spun reality programming such as Dancing With the into a ratings grabber. But the real deal is Marilyn Agrelo's tremendously entertaining documentary on fifth-graders from New York public schools (representing a full range of family income levels) who learn all the right moves during a ten-week after-school program in ballroom dancing. What begins as precious and cute turns into something that swings and inspires. 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.

From The Archives Issue 351: September 3, 1981