Friendsofmurphylibrary's Blog

Film lauds teachers and their dancing students, Thursday at 3:15 and 6 p.m.

Posted on: May 10, 2011

The school year is almost over.  Let’s celebrate with a movie about teachers who care and students who learn….to dance the merengue, foxtrot, rumba, tango, and swing.

The Murphy Library is showing the touching and funny 2005 documentary, “Mad, Hot Ballroom.” about the Dancing Classrooms program for fifth graders in New York City.  The screening is at 3:15 and 6 p.m. Thursday.  Rated PG, the film runs 105 minutes.

The nonprofit American Ballroom Theater offers dance classes to fifth graders in sixty public schools in New York.  When ten weeks of classes are over, the students compete with other schools for a trophy.

Writer Amy Sewell was so enamored with these students when she wrote a local news article about them that she teamed up with director Marilyn Agrelo to make a documentary.  They followed students in affluent Tribeca, the middle class Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, and in a poor area of Washington Heights.

The filmmakers wisely let the teachers and administrators speak, such as the principal in Tribeca, part of Lower Manhattan.  She was happy to start this program and help her students find some joy after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Best of all, Sewell and Agrelo let the students speak because they have a lot to say about life, growing up, and wanting to win.  And ultimately how dancing has changed their lives. Call 837-2417 for details.

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