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Mad Hot Ballroom

‘Mad Hot Ballroom' is an inspiring documentary film perfect for anyone interested in dance, which takes a look inside the lives of eleven-year-old New York City public school kids who journey into the world of ballroom dancing and discover more about themselves along the way.

Told from their honest and sometimes hilarious points of view, they are transformed from typical urban kids to ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ as they strive toward their goal of the final citywide competition.

The program that allows these children the opportunity to learn to ballroom dance is called ‘American Ballroom Theater’s (ABrT) Dancing Classrooms’, which currently provides dance classes at over sixty public schools in New York City.

This program was introduced into schools ten years ago. In ten weeks of intense, required classes, the program’s skilled and passionately inventive teachers take their students through a dance repertory: meringue, rumba, tango, foxtrot and swing dancing.

This film, from first time feature filmmaker Marilyn Agrelo, focuses on several kids from three elementary schools who are learning to dance on this program, while at the same time finding that becoming a ‘cool’ teenager vies with familiar innocence while learning the merengue, rumba, tango, the foxtrot and swing.

In the process, we see boys and girls learn a whole lot more than just how to make the right steps! To find out more about the film, why not check out their website at www.madhotballroom.com

Where can I see the film?

Opens 25th November

Curzon Soho
Cineworld Shaftesbury
Odeon Covent garden
Cineworld West India Quay
Odeon Swiss Cottage
Screen on Baker St
The Barbican
Vue Islington
Cineworld Chelsea
Picturehouse Clapham
Vue Shepherds Bush
Odeon Kingston
UCI Filmworks Greenwich
Cineworld Enfield
Duke of Yorks, Brighton
Cineworld Birmingham BrdSt
Broadway Nottingham
Watershed, Bristol
Cineworld Sheffield
Showroom Sheffield
Cornerhouse Manchester
UCI Filmworks Manchester
Cineworld Glasgow Renfrew
Edinburgh Filmhouse
Cineworld Edinburgh
Irish Film Institute
Cineworld Dublin
VUE Dublin
Movies @ Dundrum

2nd December
Cambridge Arts Picturehouse

9th December
The Coronet
The Tricycle
Cineworld Wandsworth
Cineworld Ashford
Cineworld Milton Keynes
Cineworld Stevenage
Cineworld Cardiff
Cineworld Crawley
Cineworld Bolton

16th December
Little Theatre Bath
Belmont Aberdeen

23rd December
Cineworld Feltham
Chapter Cardiff
Cineworld Bradford
Cineworld Castleford
Cineworld Wolverhampton
Tyneside, Newcastle
Cineworld Ashton
Orpheus Bristol

30th December

6th January
Watermans Brentford
Lighthouse Wolverhampton
Metro Derby
Cine City Norwich
Warwick arts
Birmingham MAC
Picturehouse Exeter

13th January
Phoenix Leicester
Canterbury Cinema 3
David Lean, Croydon
Bradford Pictureville

20th January
New Park Chichester

27th January
Sevenoaks Playhouse

3rd February
Forum Northampton
Royal Leamington

10th February
Riverfront Newport
Taliesin Swansea
Haverhill Arts Centre

17th February
Riverside Studios

Yd's Top 10 dance films

Below you will find yd's Top 10 Dance films. Why not email us with your best dance films.

Chicago (2003)

This movie is an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Chicago, originally directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse.

In the mid-'20s, Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) is a small-time chorus dancer married but having an affair with Fred Casley (Dominic West), a smooth talker who insists he can make her a star. However, when Roxie realises that his promises are empty, she becomes enraged and murders Fred in cold blood.

Roxie soon finds herself behind bars alongside Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a sexy vaudeville star who used to perform with her sister.

When Velma discovered that her sister had been sleeping with her husband she shot them both dead, and, after scheming prison matron 'Mama' Morton hooks Velma up with hotshot lawyer Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), Velma becomes the new Queen of the scandal sheets.

Roxie is just shrewd enough to realize that her poor fortune could also bring her fame, so she too hires Flynn. Soon Flynn is splashing Roxie's story - or, more accurately, a highly melodramatic revision of Roxy's story - all over the press, and Roxy and Velma are soon battling neck-to-neck over who can win greater fame through the headlines.

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Fame (1980)

Fame is set at New York's High School of Performing Arts, where talented teens train for show-business careers. Told in five episodes - auditions and each academic year - the film focuses on a seven main student characters: Coco (Irene Cara) a gifted singer; Montgomery (Paul McCrane) a confused gay actor; Leroy (Gene Anthony Ray) an illiterate but talented dancer; Bruno (Lee Curreri) a synthesizer player; Ralph (Barry Miller) an actor ashamed of his Puerto Rican heritage; Doris (Maureen Teefy) a shy insecure singer; Hilary (Antonia Franceschi) a talented but spoiled prima donna dancer; Lisa (Laura Dean) a frustrated dancing student.

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Moulin Rouge (2001)

Ewan McGregor stars as Christian, who leaves behind his father to seek his fortunes in the bohemian underworld of Montmartre, Paris. Christian meets the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo), who introduces him to a world of music, theatre, and the scandalous dance known as the cancan, all at the Moulin Rouge, a decadent dance hall and theatre that's the brainchild of Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent).

Christian also meets and falls into a tragically doomed romance with the Satine (Nicole Kidman), who becomes the star of the play he's writing, which parallels the couple's romance and utilizes rock music from a century later, including songs by Nirvana, Madonna, the Beatles, and Queen, among others.

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Flashdance (1983)

Jennifer Beals stars as Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel-mill welder by day and bar dancer by night. She has dreams of a career in ballet and is given financial support in her endeavours by her boss Nick Hurley (Michael Nouri) and moral support by demanding but big-hearted instructor Hanna Long (Lilia Skala). The film's signature scene is, of course, Alex's water-drenched dance audition, largely performed in long shot by her dance double Marine Jahan. Essentially an old-fashioned backstage yarn, Flashdance was given a contemporary spin by its pulsating, musical score featuring the Oscar-winning Best Song, Flashdance...What a Feeling.


Center Stage (2000)

After competitions, 12 young dancers make it to the American Ballet Academy. They'll prepare for a recital to determine who will be asked to join the American Ballet Company. Tensions mount between Jonathan, the company's aging choreographer, and Cooper, his best dancer, who also wants to choreograph. The brilliant Maureen seems poised for success, but she discovers that life is passing her by. Jody, whose body may be the wrong type and whose technique is ragged, elicits Cooper's interest. The edgy, smart-mouthed Eva loves to dance but seems destined to be stuck in the back of the chorus. The recital will decide their fates.


Strictly Ballroom (1992)

Scott Hastings is a champion caliber ballroom dancer, but much to the displeasure of the Australian ballroom dance community, Scott believes in dancing 'his own steps'. He refuses to follow the accepted rules of ballroom dancing and instead creates his own style of choreography. When his unorthodox style causes his regular partner to dance out of his life, Scott is forced to take up a new partner, Fran, a beginner who initially seems without promise. But, with his help, she turns into an assured and wonderful dancer. Together, these two misfits try to win the Australian Pan Pacific Championships and show the Ballroom Confederation that they are wrong when they say, 'there are no new steps!'


Save the Last Dance (2001)

With her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina decimated by the accidental death of her mother, Sara Johnson (Julia Stiles) is forced to move from her quiet Vermont town to her father's ghetto apartment on the south side of Chicago. Knowing no one at her new school and not at home in the gritty, inner-city high school, Sarah has trouble adjusting. But she soon becomes friends with Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas), a popular black student with a passion for hip hop and a future brighter than his troubled past. Their mutual love of dance leads their friendship into something deeper and Sara's repressed ambition and sorrow are released through a revitalised interest in the expressive power of dance.


Dirty Dancing (1987)

In 1963, Baby Houseman (Jennifer Grey) is a 17-year-old spending the summer with her family at a resort hotel. One night Baby discovers the hotel staff 'dirty dancing'. She is particularly struck by handsome Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), a dancer in the resort's show, and soon falls head over heels in love. When Johnny's dance partner finds herself pregnant after a fling with one of the waiters, Baby volunteers to learn the steps and take her place for one of their shows. As the summer winds down, Baby and Johnny must come to grips with responsibility and love and others' expectations.


Grease (1978)

During a visit to America, Australian Sandy meets Danny Zuko at the beach and falls in love. She is heartbroken when the Summer ends and she has to return home. But fate lends a hand - her parents decide to stay in America and she finds herself attending Rydell High, the same school as Danny. But Danny at school is different from Danny at the beach. He is the leader of the T-Birds, a leather clad gang, and has a reputation to keep up. He can't be seen to fall in love with someone so 'uncool'. Sandy is upset and seeks solace with some new friends she has made - a female gang called The Pink Ladies. But her prim and proper ways do not fit in and she soon finds herself almost alone. A change must be made. Does she attempt to get her man by turning him into a jock? Or must she get rid of her squeaky clean image?

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Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Tony is an uneducated Brooklyn teenager who'd give anything to break out of his dead-end existence. The highlight of his week is going to the local disco, where he is the king of the dancefloor. Tony meets Stephanie at the disco and they agree to dance together in a competition. Stephanie resists Tony's attempts to romance her, as she aspires to greater things than her job as a secretary; she is moving across the river to glamorous Manhattan. Gradually, Tony also becomes disillusioned with the life he is leading and he and Stephanie decide to help one another to start afresh.


Londondance.com is a top website for featuring the latest programmes about dance on the television (and also radio).

Go to their website to find out what's coming up on screen>>