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Take the Lead: The Triumph of Cheese

Posted by April 22nd, 2006 No Comments »

Take The Lead
Starring:  Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Alfred Woodard, Dante Basco and Ray Liotta
Directed By: Liz Friedlander
Screenplay By: Dianne Houston

Take the Lead is based on the real-life story of Pierre Dulaine and his dance program, which launched as a group of 15 to 20 kids who were forced to participate in the class as a form of detention. It was so successful that today there are 8,000 students and 33 instructors in 72 schools.

How do you get an entire audience to applaud in the middle of a movie?

How do you get them to sit through all of the credits?

Dance, baby. Dance.

Seriously, I am a fan of pretty much any teacher flick and most dance movies. Throw in Antonio Banderas, and how can I say no?

This is Dirty Dancing meets Dangerous Minds.

To Sir With Love meets Mad Hot Ballroom.

This is not an ultra-challenging movie, and it is pretty predictable (do we expect teacher movies or dance movies to be any other way?). However, in no way does that detract from the spinny, grindy, groovin’ goodness that is urban outcast ballroom dancing.

Sex appeal, rhythm, triumph over adversity; it’s like sex on hardwood.

To top it all off, nestled down deep in the belly of this deliciously rhythmic beast is a good lesson: when trying to change the course of a life, sometimes a little alternative thinking and a little creativity can bust through the status quo.

“In the beginning, Pierre had a lot of trouble getting into the schools because nobody believed that ballroom dancing would do anything for kids,” Antonio tells ET. “[They felt] it is not going to stop aggressiveness, or anything like that. But it does, because it gives you a set of rules that you can follow that have to do with real life. Pierre said to me, ‘I wasn’t trying to make these kids professional dancers.’ What he was trying to give them is what comes with ballroom dancing.”

Some of you may see that as a bit on the cheese. But the fact of the matter is that it is working. In the real world, in real lives. That is all the proof I need.

Mmmm, the power of cheese.

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