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MOVIE REVIEW: Take the Lead starring Antonio Banderas

Take the Lead, starring Antonio Banderas, is based on the true story of Pierre Dulaine and the pioneering New York City dance program called Dancing Classrooms. The program teaches kids the classic ballroom dances like the waltz, tango, foxtrot, rumba, swing and merengue. It has been a tremendous success and now includes over 60 participating schools from all over NYC. The recent documentary Mad Hot Ballroom is also inspired by this story.

Take the Lead gets rolling when Pierre finds a high school student vandalizing his principal's car. When he goes to meet the school principal to talk the situation over he sees the difficulty of the students position and volunteers to take on a small group of troubled kids as their detention supervisor and dance teacher. Despite the barrier of their very different world-views and life situations, Dulaine and the students eventually find common ground in the dancing that enables them to better understand each other and themselves. The group does learn to dance, but they also learn about dedication, forgiveness and respect as well. In the end all their hard work and learning pays off as they head off to a local dance competition and stun the local dance scene with not only their skin color but also their passionate moves and uninhibited style.

From a dance perspective Take the Lead definitely has some nice dance scenes. In particular the Tango that Dulaine inspires the kids with in the detention area is fantastic. It is intense and passionate with lots of interesting choreography. For me this dance was the best part of the movie. It was also cool to see that they brought in so much Hip Hop music and dancing to this movie. It gave it a great energy that complemented the ballroom dancing and also created a bit of a theme of old vs. new that gave more life to both styles.

While it is a fun movie derived from a fantastic true-life story, it's probably safe to say that Take the Lead is not going to win any Oscar's. The movie is pretty cliché; if you are sensitive to bad dialogue, one dimensional characters, and a storyline you've seen before, then Take the Lead may have you cringing at times (this is pretty much the norm for ballroom dancing movies unfortunately). That said it is certainly a nice story, and if you're looking for something light and fun with great music and lots of dancing, then Take the Lead might be an ideal choice. Also, for what it's worth, every woman I know says it's worth seeing just for Antonio Banderas!

Happy Dancing!


Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

MOVIE REVIEW: Take the Lead starring Antonio Banderas
posted by Dancing For Dessert on 9/02/2006 06:13:00 PM

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