"Turning Children into Well-Mannered Ladies and Gentlemen"
What You Need To Know:
MAD HOT BALLROOM is a delightful documentary that not only focuses on the innocent lives of some schoolchildren in New York City but also shows the struggles that inner-city schoolteachers have in keeping some kids away from gangs and street crime. The children are cute but not always articulate. Their enjoyment of learning how to dance is infectious, as are the tears of joy and disappointment when the movie reveals the contest’s winners and losers. Mostly wholesome, the movie has two very light comical references by children to same-sex marriage and adolescent girls having to watch out for child molesters. Therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for ages 7 to 13.
(BB, Ho, PC, C, L, S, N, M) Mostly moral worldview with discussions about helping inner-city children avoid gangs and street crime and helping schoolchildren to become cultivated and to pursue their potential, and with very light homosexual allusions, such as a brief comical mention by 5th grade boys of same-sex marriage, but no overt endorsement, 5th grade boy starts to talk about what the Bible says about marriage but conversation cuts off and boys laugh and seem somewhat embarrassed by the topic, adult teachers dance, including two male and two female teachers together, and two male teachers seem a little bit effeminate at times, with light politically correctness and multiculturalism such as one teacher expresses how she doesn’t like competitions and dance contest emcee twice seems to make a big deal about the “rainbow” colors that ethnic groups of dance teams wear, which may be a reference to the multicultural meaning behind Jesse Jackson’s politically correct Rainbow Coalition, as well as brief glimpse of a Christian statue; two light exclamatory profanities (“My God”), but children’s talking is not always clear; no violence; a light reference to same-sex marriage and girl expresses her concerns that, when a girl like her reaches 11, she has to be careful about “sick” people (by implication, child molesters); upper male nudity by a couple boys on playground and basketball court; no alcohol, smoking or drug references; and, girl says that if her skirt happens to fall while she’s dancing she will just “pick it up” and principal seems to covet the possibility of her school getting a winning trophy for the second year in a row.
MAD HOT BALLROOM is a documentary about an annual ballroom dancing competition between some of New York City’s government schools. The documentary focuses on three city schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan and the 5th grade children who take 10 weeks of classes before they compete in a three-stage dance contest. The children and their teachers and principals discuss the dancing, and the children also discuss their goals in life, including whether they expect to have boyfriends and girlfriends in high school and to get married. Just before the competition, the movie lets viewers see the intense commitment of last year’s champions, a competitive team from a high school in Queens.
A little slow getting started, MAD HOT BALLROOM is a delightful documentary that not only focuses on the innocent lives of schoolchildren in New York City but also shows the struggles that schoolteachers, especially inner-city teachers, have in helping children become courteous and keeping them away from gangs and street crime. The children are cute but not always articulate. Their enjoyment of learning how to dance is infectious, however, as are the tears of joy and disappointment when the movie reveals the contest’s winners and losers.
MAD HOT BALLROOM is mostly wholesome, but there are two brief scenes where two boys mention the issue of same-sex homosexual marriage and where one girl discusses her concerns that, when a girl like her reaches 11, she has to be careful about “sick” child molesters. The childlike way in which the children talk about these issues is comical. These two scenes are not overtly lewd or offensive, but the subject matter rates a caution from MOVIEGUIDE® for children between the ages of 7 and 13. Neither the children nor the movie endorses same-sex marriage, but allusions to the politically correct, left-wing multiculturalism in New York City government schools do occur. For instance, the movie makes a big deal about the Hispanic ethnicity of one school, and the dance contest emcee twice seems to make a big deal about the “rainbow” colors that ethnic groups of dance teams wear.
On a side note, there is a brief scene where the dance teachers dance together by themselves after a teacher meeting. Two of the male teachers dance together and two of the females do likewise, but there are no other potential homosexual allusions, though a couple of the male teachers seem to be slightly effeminate, including one of the above-mentioned male dancers. Whenever the children dance, they either dance male and female or, during practice sessions, they pretend to have an imaginary partner.