Take The Lead

A Manhattan ballroom dancer (Antonio Banderas) offers to instruct inner-city high school kids, and proceeds to teach them trust, respect, teamwork, tolerance, and hope. This inspirational vehicle, based on a true story, is as hokey as it sounds, and it sometimes cuts too fast to allow us to see the dancing properly. But as in Saturday Night Fever, the sense of reality giving way to fantasy on a dance floor is potent, and writer Dianne Houston and director Liz Friedlander are so sincere that they make much of it work. With Alfre Woodard, Rob Brown, and Yaya DaCosta. PG-13, 108 min. (JR)

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