Take the Lead Makes Us Want to Follow

What do you get when you take ballroom dancing and inner-city kids serving detention? Attitude, a clash of preferences and dreams in the making. Take the Lead is about the life of Pierre Dulaine who as a former ballroom dancer and competitor gives up his time and energy to teach inner-city kids ballroom dancing. Antonio Banderas gives a commanding performance as Pierre Dulaine. His profound respect and belief in the kids, dubbed the “school rejects,” entices them to trust him and in gaining their trust he not only teaches and moves them but also learns a thing or two himself. The idea seems a bit far-reaching considering the lives of the kids aren’t exactly picturesque. The kids and members of the faculty find the idea to be of no value in the lives of high school students who are just trying to live life from day to day without getting killed. At first the style of dancing and the music that goes along with it, don’t appeal to the students. That is until they find their own beat. They combine hip-hop dancing with ballroom dancing to create a style all their own. Over time, with care and patience, Pierre teaches the kids discipline, self-respect and to believe that magic can happen to anyone, anywhere. The underlying theme of teenage love that is so prevalent in movies of this type of genre is seen in a different light here: through dance. One of the dance scenes, a tango with two guys and one girl is a fabulous example of teenage sexuality choreographed into a dance and put to music to create one of the best scenes of the film. The talented cast includes Rob Brown (Coach Carter and Finding Forrester), Yaya DaCosta (America’s Next Top Model), and Dante Basco (best known for playing Rufio in Hook). As well as the irresistible, smooth talking, smooth moving, Antonio Banderas as Pierre Dulaine. Having been directed by veteran music video and commercial director, Liz Friedlander, certainly makes watching the dance scenes an experience in itself. Take the Lead makes you feel as if you’re being led and following every step that is made along the way. This inspirational movie follows in the footsteps of classics such as Sister Act, Mr. Hollands Opus and Dangerous Minds and teaches its audience to, as the tag-line states, always lead, “Never Follow.”