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Mad Hot Ballroom Review

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A group of New York City elementary schoolkids take up ballroom dancing, and go on to compete in a city-wide competition.

★★★★

Tagged as “this year’s Spellbound”, this documentary follows 11 year-old kids from three New York schools as they compete in a ballroom dancing competition. While comically mismatched Brooklyn Italians and Asians tread on each others’ toes, multi-cultural kids from Tribeca talk smart and talented Dominican Americans prove almost as hungry for the inter-school trophy as their formidable teacher.

While children are an easy target for humour, the filmmakers have a nose for the most hilarious ones, focusing on some charmingly eccentric little characters. The editing doesn’t make it easy to navigate the different classrooms, but the raw material is so strong this is thoroughly engaging with a genuinely suspenseful finale.

Cute, comical kids help make this ballroom dancing comp-romp a feelgood winner despite inexpert editing.