Mad Hot Ballroom, directed by Marilyn Argrelo, is a documentary about the ballroom dance program in the New York Public School system. The documentary follows the journey of fifth grade students as they learn how to ballroom dance, and enter a citywide competition. The children in the documentary express their perspectives on ballroom dancing, goals and inspirations, and what it is like to grow up in their neighborhoods. The documentary highlights the benefits of exposing urban youth to ballroom dancing (Agrelo, 2005).
The children in the film were from various ethnic and religious backgrounds, and were from predominately low-income families. In the film, the children and some parents expressed their opinions and concerns about growing up in low-income neighborhoods. There were a few parents that made comments about their socio-economic status, and wanting their children to live a better life. Also, they expressed their dreams of their children going to college, and obtaining a career such as a doctor. The children also have high hopes in attending college, and living a life much different than their current one (Agrelo, 2005).
Concept of “Ballroom Dancing”
The New York Public Schools used ballroom dancing to teach teamwork, instill confidence and introduce children to different cultures and experiences. Ballroom dancing in New York gives underprivileged children the opportunity to be exposed to the arts, which is usually a program that is cut from low-income schools. This program is a part of a fine arts curriculum with a focus on movement/dancing. A fine art curriculum approach integrates the different aspect of the arts to enhance the learning experiences of the students (Agrelo, 2005; “Dancing Clas...
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...hildren had to the dance classes. Overall, they were exposed to different cultures, made new friendships, became more confident, and aware of different career options such as professional dancers or singers (Agrelo, 2005).
I think this type of program could be beneficial and successful for the students in the DC area. Just like New York Public Schools, DC Public Schools have the same demographics of low-income students, and they just about face the same issues and obstacles in their neighborhoods. Therefore, since it was successful in New York, I think it could be successful in DC. In addition, low-income students respond well to the different fine arts programs because they typically do not have the opportunity to engage in those activities outside of school, it could help them discover unknown talents and it serves as a motivator to come to class (Gorski, 2013).
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