In this deliriously fun documentary, director Marilyn Agrelo turns her camera on a group of fourth and fifth graders learning ballroom dancing in New York City. Mad Hot follows kids from three schools-P.S. 112 in Tribeca, P.S. 150 in Bensonhurst, and P.S. 115 in Washington Heights-from their first day of dance class to the final face-off. Tensions rise as the children are chosen to compete. Every child wants to be selected and the teachers are on a mission to win. What's impressive about the film is that we don't just watch kids learn the foxtrot, the merengue, the rhumba, the tango, and swing dancing; we also learn about them and the worlds in which they live. New York, a culturally vibrant city, is on display here-each neighborhood, in all its glory. Within months, the children of Mad Hot grow from urban urchins into ladies and gentleman who revel in the world of dance. They come away with more respect for each other, better etiquette, and a mean salsa. Like Spellbound meets Strictly Ballroom, this film will keep viewers on the edge of their seats wondering who will win the climactic competition.
Marilyn Agrelo has had a varied career, which spans over 15 years, of producing independent films, directing and
producing commercials and managing fundraising projects. She's presently at work on the documentary, Us and Them, a chronicle of her divided family, shot on location in both the United States and Cuba. Agrelo's documentary work includes The ORBIS Story about an international humanitarian project. Mad Hot Ballroom is her directorial feature debut.