Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Fiction Free Zone

Not sure why I've been seeing so many documentaries lately, but I saw a good one tonight -- "Mad Hot Ballroom." It's about a program in New York City Public Schools that teaches grade school students ballroom dancing and culminates in a citywide dance contest.

It brought back memories of how much I HATED square dancing in the fifth grade. (The only good part was the time it took to move our desks to the side.) What does it say about the difference between Los Angeles and New York that we're square dancing here while they're learning how to Tango there. (Maybe it has more to do with 1973 vs. 2005.)

The documentary is a testament to the hard working teachers in New York City's public schools.

(And New York City's public school facilities sure seem to be in much better shape than California's.)

It was wonderful to watch how the students started out very reluctant to dance and eventually became very competitive about it all. It was heartbreaking to watch many of the 9 and 10 year olds take losing very hard.

And what a pleasant surprise to see Broadway-legend Ann Reinking turn up as a judge in the Citywide Finals.

On the topic of documentaries -- interesting article in today's Los Angeles Times points out that "March of the Penguins" is doing better, on the basis of average revenue per screen, than "War of the Worlds." In fact it's doing so well that it's expanding this weekend from 35 to 85 screens nationwide.

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