Mad Hot Ballroom

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Mad Hot Ballroom
Mad Hot Ballroom.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarilyn Agrelo
Written byAmy Sewell
Produced by
  • Marilyn Agrelo
  • Amy Sewell
  • Brian David Cange
  • Wilder Knight II
StarringMadeleine Hackney
CinematographyClaudia Raschke-Robinson
Edited bySabine Krayenbuhl
Music by
Distributed byParamount Classics
Release date
  • May 13, 2005 (2005-05-13)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$9.4 million[1]

Mad Hot Ballroom is a 2005 American documentary film directed and co-produced by Marilyn Agrelo and written and co-produced by Amy Sewell, about a ballroom dance program in the New York City Department of Education, the New York City public school system for fifth graders. Several styles of dance are shown in the film, such as tango, foxtrot, swing, rumba and merengue.[2]


Based on a feature article written by Sewell, Mad Hot Ballroom looks inside the lives of 11-year-old New York City public school kids who journey into the world of ballroom dancing and reveal pieces of themselves along the way. Told from the students' perspectives as the children strive toward the final citywide competition, the film chronicles the experiences of students at three schools in the neighborhoods of Tribeca, Bensonhurst and Washington Heights. The students are united by an interest in the ballroom dancing lessons, which builds over a 10-week period and culminates in a competition to find the school that has produced the best dancers in the city. As the teachers cajole their students to learn the intricacies of the various disciplines, Agrelo intersperses classroom footage with the students' musings on life; many of these reveal an underlying maturity.[2]


The documentary premiered at the 2005 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and was purchased by Paramount Classics and Nickelodeon Movies. It had a limited theatrical release in the United States on May 13, 2005. Mad Hot Ballroom was the second highest grossing documentary in 2005 after March of the Penguins.[3] As of February 7, 2012, it had earned over $8.1 million, making it the sixteenth-highest-grossing documentary film in the United States (in nominal dollars, from 1982 to the present).[4]


Critical reception[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an 84% certified fresh approval rating, based on 121 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "This heartwarming documentary will win audiences over, as the sheer charm of precocious, enthusiastic children learning to dance resonates from the screen."[2]


Awards bestowed upon Mad Hot Ballroom include:[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)". The Numbers. Retrieved 2016-07-04.
  2. ^ a b c "Mad Hot Ballroom". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  3. ^ Hot Ballroom.htm Mad Hot Ballroom at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ "Documentary Movies". Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  5. ^ IMDB Award List

External links[edit]