Parents' Guide to

Mad Hot Ballroom

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Enchanting dance documentary hits all the right beats.

Movie PG 2005 105 minutes
Mad Hot Ballroom Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 8+

To the reviewer that was upset it was a dance "competition"

Like it or not life is a competition: * Graduating near the top of the class in High School is a competition. * Getting into a great college is a competition. * Applying for jobs after is a competition. * Buying a house is a competition. * Finding your partner is a competition. and on and on and on... It would be great if we could all have ocean front property in a safe town with amazing schools. I actually wish living some place safe was not a competition, but even that is. Raising your kids to count on "participation trophies" in adult life is not going to serve them well in "the real world"
1 person found this helpful.
age 7+

Loved it...full of fun

Really a great mix of kids learning to love dancing and get much positive growth from it.... the competitive part showed some interesting things about kids who HAD to win and others who just had fun... Most of the teachers are good but you could see a few who clearly need to learn to chill a bit ... It's a really wonderful time watching though.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (4):

More than anything, this superb film impresses by the respect it affords its subjects. Whether the dancers perform for the camera (which some of them certainly do), explain their interest (Michael Vaccaro says, "It's like a sport that hasn't been invented yet!"), confess concerns (philosophically inclined Cyrus Hernstadt says, "Dance is like a tiny grain of sand if you consider the entire country"), or express themselves in complicated dance moves (the swing dancers are moving fast), they all give of themselves for the enthusiastic adults they want to please (teachers such as Yomaira Reynoso and Victoria Malvagno, as well as parents) -- and especially each other.

At first, it might seem strange to see such young people working so seriously on ballroom dancing. But within minutes, Marilyn Agrelo's documentary convinces viewers that this is exactly the right activity for these dedicated, enchanting fifth-graders. As they work with their teachers and each other to learn the difficult steps and postures for the rumba, tango, swing, merengue, and fox-trot, they also reveal much about themselves as thoughtful, dynamic young people. As they dance, they are exposed to various cultural traditions and begin to learn traditional gender roles (the boys are instructed, "Take care of your partner").

Movie Details

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