Mad Hot Ballroom

There's no other way of putting it: Spellbound with dancing. Filmed in the public schools of New York City, this sweet little 2005 documentary follows various squads of fifth-graders through some very fancy footwork. They represent several elementary schools and neighborhoods, ranging from tony TriBeCa to hardscrabble Washington Heights. First the junior hoofers have to learn the steps, then make the team, then dance through the city championships. It's a lot of pressure for your average 11-year-old, and Ballroom relishes how each one of these kids is average in his or her own unique, embarrassed, confident, excited, and distracted way. The movie's a love-letter to teachers, too. Says one instructor of the subject at foot, "It's much more than learning a bunch of steps. It's etiquette. It's knowledge of other cultures. It's life." To which I'll add—it's a lot of fun. (PG) BRIAN MILLER

Sat., Aug. 18, 1 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 19, 1 p.m., 2012

 
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