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Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 116
Fresh: 97 | Rotten: 19

This heartwarming documentary will win audiences over, as the sheer charm of precocious, enthusiastic children learning to dance resonates from the screen.


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 35 | Rotten: 1

This heartwarming documentary will win audiences over, as the sheer charm of precocious, enthusiastic children learning to dance resonates from the screen.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 8,267

My Rating

Movie Info

Every year, the New York Public School system sponsors a dance competition for youngsters in fifth grade; in this contest, boys and girls ages 10 and 11 learn traditional ballroom dancing styles such as the fox trot, the rumba, and the tango, and then pit their skills against other students from around the Big Apple. Mad Hot Ballroom is a documentary which offers an inside look at this event, as well as the teachers and students who take part, with a particular emphasis on three schools: P.S.

Oct 18, 2005


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All Critics (117) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (97) | Rotten (19) | DVD (16)

Charming if slightly overlong.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Listening to the kids talk is a treat in itself, but watching them strut their stuff in the final competition is enough to make you stand up and cheer.

August 5, 2005
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's kind of like the dance version of that documentary Rock School.

June 20, 2005 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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The kids are adorable, and so is the movie.

June 10, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Clearly, the dance lessons are life lessons as well, nurturing self-confidence, team spirit, the joy of dancing and even a slight touch of Old World etiquette in an otherwise too-busy- to-be-courteous world.

June 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Aside from being perfectly irresistible, the movie is also deeply inspiring, especially for children.

June 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Inspiring and enjoyable, this docu chronicles the physical and psychological transformation of school kids of different social classes as they enter into the 'exotic' world of ballroom dancing.

March 1, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

A sweet, and utterly entertaining portrait of children learning about confidence, achievement, skill, and also understanding the game of the sexes at such a young age.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Charming, poignant and festive "Mad Hot Ballroom" is an inspirational documentary that shows the power of dance to invigorate self-esteem and ambition in young hearts.

April 16, 2009 Full Review Source:

The dozen or so whom Agrelo and Sewell chose to emphasize are especially appealing, but nearly all of them are bright, thoughtful, confident and dedicated -- a heartening glimpse of the coming generation.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

In all its unscripted glory, it shows us pre-adolescence with an astonishing authenticity that should be the envy of a hundred coming-of-age movies.

September 27, 2006
Christianity Today

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

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

For its length, it would have been nice to learn a little bit more about some of the children. Nonetheless, Mad Hot Ballroom is still an uplifting and inspiring tale.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

While Agrelo pushes a little too hard at times the attitude of the kids and the enthusiasm with which they perform dance makes it well worth a look.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

It's a tale of tears, triumph and tread-upon toes; it may wear you out, but it'll put a spring in your step too.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: BBC

... it's delightful to see the kids enthusiastically cheering each other on and they are terrific dancers. It'll make you want to take ballroom dancing lessons.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

[Its] heart shines through during conversational scenes with the candid children.

November 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

A delightful documentary that shows how creative expression is a necessity in the lives of urban children.

October 19, 2005 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

persuasively shows how these lessons help bridge the gap between boys and girls during that uneasy period when the sexes are still suspicious of each other.

October 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Only an icy hearted cynic could disparage this joyous, infectious documentary.

October 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

There's not a sequin, an ostrich feather nor a miniature tuxedo in sight, and everybody who gets anywhere near the finals looks absolutely right.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

By the end we're glowing with pride just like their parents and teachers.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Surprising, delightful and inspiring, Mad Hot Ballroom is an entertaining documentary about 11 year old kids finding a focus and pursuing their passion

September 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

By turns funny, moving, and most definitely feel-good.

September 10, 2005

It is a bit like watching a home movie. Still, the kids are very cute, and I did get caught up in the drama of the competition, such as it was.

August 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Audience Reviews for Mad Hot Ballroom

Sweet but kind of slow.
August 2, 2010

Super Reviewer

A slow starting documentary that unexpectedly becomes quite captivating.
October 2, 2009

Super Reviewer

OMG what a cuuute documentary! totally got shafted at the oscars, cause i was like MANOHMAN little fifth-graders you have way more hip movement than me.
June 7, 2007

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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April 30, 2008:
Ferrera Searching for Agrelo's Invisible Sign
During her summer hiatus from Ugly Betty, America Ferrera will star in a "coming-of-age drama" for...
April 6, 2006:
Critical Consensus: Take Or Leave This "Lead,: An Odd "Number," "Benchwarmers"
This week at the movies, we explore the joys of dance ("Take the Lead"), mistaken identity...
January 3, 2006:
Chicago Critics Announce Their Nominations
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Foreign Titles

  • Un... deux... trois dansez (FR)
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