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FILM - Essay Example

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This weekend, I had the opportunity to watch director Marilyn Argrelo's award winning documentary film, Mad Hot Ballroom. The film is about a 10-week ballroom dance program for students of 5th grade of New York public schools. It deals with the coming of age kids who, in the process of learning various dance forms-meringues, rumba, tango, foxtrot and swing, warm up for life…
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Download file to see previous pages From the beginning the film, establishes the basic idea that anyone can achieve anything if he/she has the zest and is ready to work towards it. It opens on Public School-115 of Washington Heights, Manhattan, when during her interview, the school Principal informs that 97% of the school's Hispanic population lives below the poverty line. However, she also asserts, that these students are not apologetic about their conditions. They are dreamers and they like to chase their passions, live their life. The ballroom dance teaching helps these students foster the very spirit. It helps them unfold their own personalities and make life a more fulfilling.
Yomaria Reynose, the dance teacher of Washington Heights, PS 115 acclaims, "You don't know what's hidden inside each child, until you open it up". She recalls her young days when the opportunities weren't as many. Today, students are getting a chance to unleash and enhance their talents. "With time, there are avenues opening up for them (kids) to go into something that has to do with arts". This holds true for each one of us. Future generations are always better equipped, more open and liberal than those who precede them. In our schooldays, kids never had technology au fait; they were never so informed about life. I remember, when in school we were first introduced to computers. There were about thirty students in a class, sharing five computers. Today, times have changed. Students have both, avenues and opportunities.
As the movie progresses, it brings to light, the myriad facets of the American life. The kids share their secrets, talk about various issues that concern them, discuss their perceptions about things. The dance competition event serves the perfect milieu for these young men and women to explore themselves, their dreams, their sensuality; their association with the opposite sex and to learn to coexist with harmony in a multi-cultural environment. I think it is quite relevant to any modern day society.
Initially in the movie, we see kids showing some reservation in getting together. They remain with their respective guys' and girls' groups and give out strange expressions, when asked to pair up or hold hands. These kids are basically unwilling participants. With time and the consistent efforts of their dedicated teachers, the kids' inhibitions fade away, their attitudes towards their partner softens. They start accepting each other, enjoy dancing with harmony. In my teens, I had similar experiences. I would generally be a shy person and keep away from most guys. But, I would also get tickled on the very mention/sight of one of the guys in our music class. After a few interactions however, during lessons, we opened up and became friends. Here, in the movie, the dance sessions make interaction with the opposite sex, with kids of different cultures, easier for these students on the threshold of adolescence. "This", as Wilson a Manhattan's school kid later remarks, "hopefully will come in use when I grow up and am married".
The movie also underlines several problems that engulf our modern day societies-of poverty, drugs and child abuse, relationships of the grown ups, their differences, negligence towards kids. While praising the efforts made by public schools in organizing events like this, Manhattan teacher sadly ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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