"Great Expectations Fulfilled"

Quality: Content: +1 "WORTHWHILE"


The documentary DANCING ACROSS BORDERS follows Cambodian teenager Sy from the wilds of his home country to the streets of New York to learn ballet. DANCING ACROSS BORDERS is a heartfelt movie for dance lovers and novices alike, with a moral, pro-capitalist worldview, marred slightly by brief references to pagan superstition.


DANCING ACROSS BORDERS provides an insider’s look at one boy who bypassed the percentages against him.
Growing up in rural Cambodia, Sy was like most boys who had a passion for dancing. In the streets and at dance school, the children learned the art of “fishing dance,” a much different dance than that of Western schooling.
However, when Anne Bass comes to the country and finds that this one young boy possesses the finesse, the dance skills and necessary limbs to become a gifted ballet performer, she speaks with his parents about a proposal to bring him back to the States with her and fine tune him to Western dance theory. Despite being close with his family and friends, Sy is faced with a decision to leave his desolate, although familiar, surroundings for an unknown land of opportunity; and, he takes it.
On coming to America, the documentary tracks his progress in detail year by year. First at the School of American Ballet in New York, where he begins the steady process of learning ballet, for the first time, at almost 17-years-old, which in of itself is a near impossible feat. From the perfection of his practice, Sy moves to a Northwestern Pacific troop to begin performing as a professional dancer.
From worldwide competitions, to bringing back some of the gracious hospitality he has seen from Ms. Bass, Sy becomes an international sensation, a fabulous ballet dancer, and, above all, a morally upstanding gentleman. DANCING WITH BORDERS is family friendly. The beginning of the movie, however, does have brief references to the pagan superstition of dancing with gratitude for one’s ancestors.


(BB, CapCap, Pa, FR, L, N, M) Strong moral, pro-capitalist worldview, with positive values and emphasis placed on hard work and trying to help others, although the beginning has some references to pagan superstition regarding dancing with gratitude for one’s ancestors; one obscenity; no violence; no sex; upper male nudity; no alcohol use; no smoking or drug usage; and, main character chooses to leave family in third world country for an opportunity at a dancing career in the United States.

In Brief:

DANCING ACROSS BORDERS is a heartfelt documentary about Sy, a simple teenager from Cambodia. Sy loves to dance. On seeing the talented boy, who is thin with long legs, torso and arms, wealthy Texan arts advocate Anne Bass sponsors him as a professional ballet dancer. After speaking with his parents, she brings Sy to America, enrolling him in the School of American Ballet. The movie documents Sy’s ascent from student to ballet supernova. Eventually, Sy is accepted into a dance troop in the Pacific. There, he competes in international competitions and has been mentioned in the New York Times.
Despite its low budget, DANCING ACROSS BORDERS is elegantly made. The dancing scenes flow together like silent poetry. The movie has a strong moral, pro-capitalist worldview; it portrays the positive benefits of capitalizing on every chance one gets. As Sy dances across borders, he helps transcend language barriers, bridging the gap between East and West. DANCING ACROSS BORDERS is family friendly. There are, however, some brief references in the beginning to pagan superstitions of dancing with gratitude for one’s ancestors. For reviews of other movies and DVDs, please visit our website, movieguide.org.