Charming, funny, ultimately moving, documentary about NYC public grade school kids in
ballroom dancing competition.
It's inspiring to see these kids transformed by the program, where kids in thousands
of NYC public schools learn ballroom dances in 5th, 6th and 7th grade, often giving them
a discipline and self-respect they'd lacked before. We meet a fun, colorful array of
characters (both teachers and students).
On the down side, we never really get to know any of the characters deeply, only bits and
sound-bites, and some moments feel staged (a suspicion bolstered by the end credit
`writer', although there is no narration, and the film is done verite style).
Also, while we see how great the effect of winning is on these kids, the subject of losing, the hurt
feelings, the possible damage to these same fragile egos is touched on, but never
explored. We see kids crying, we hear one teacher voice concerns abut the intensity
of competition at that age, but that's it. Even as an endorsement of what is clearly a
terrific program for the kids, it feels like a bit of a cheat to bring up such an arresting
element, and then never really deal with it.
All that said, this is still well worth seeing, I just found myself wishing for more.