Friday, June 23, 2006

Mad Hot Ballroom

A few months ago, I finally got around to watching the adorable documentary "Mad Hot Ballroom," which follows four teams of New York City students through a relatively new curriculum in culture and coordination: ballroom dance. Their year culminates in a competition with all of the other participating schools. Today the finals were hosted in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Plaza. I absolutely had to go. Most elementary school students across America have already put away their pencils and school books, happily enjoying a summer of visits to the pool, the park, and family vacations. But for 111 New York fourth graders, today was a definitive moment in their careers as ballroom dancers. As soon as we got out of work at 5:00, Seth and I were on a downtown train. The Dominicans went crazy during the merengue, the parents screamed wildly as their children took the stage, and those kids danced their hearts out. Each team was assigned a color and the audience was a rainbow of support. Schools showed their pride with balloons, t-shirts, ribbons, and flags in the teams colors waving throughout the plaza with the occasional posters touting words of encouragement like, "P.S. 160 can dance!" The kids were seriously amazing. It was so fun to be part of the action, and heartbreaking to see these kids burst into tears as they realized that they hadn't won the competition. Now I just want to watch the movie again.

-Tina Fabrique-

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