Pierre Dulaine (Antonio Banderas) is a ballroom dance(s) instructor running his own studio in New York. One night, on his way back from another ball, he sees a teenager (named Rock- played by Rob Brown) taking his fury out on a car. When he realizes who the car belongs to (it belongs to the principal of the school the boy goes to), he realizes he might be of some help. The school consists of mostly troubled teens from poor backgrounds and they are not exactly hopeful about their future. The principal (Alfre Woodard) is more than amused at Pierre’s ridiculous idea but she realizes he is her only choice for a teacher to attend her students in detention.
The students – the rejects- are even more amused at the sight of this overly polite, dance-loving volunteer teacher. If they want to dance, they do it to hip hop and they have no interest in ballroom dancing – the stuff they see as the territory of rick, stuck-up white kids.
But Dulaine is more than determined. He slowly intrigues them, and with the help of his pro dance student Morgan (Katya Virshilas), he proves them how sexy and exciting his type of dances can be. He even encourages them to join a dancing competition. However his newly formed bond with the problem students will raise more than a few eyebrows with the principal, the other teachers, parents and his rich students, with the exception of one girl who feels more at home with the rejects. Also the more than chaotic home lives of the kids might interfere with their dancing classes. Can Dulaine manage to fulfill his quest to teach these teenagers to have faith in themselves and future, with the help of dancing?
Take the Lead is a wonderful dance movie. It may not reinvent the story of ambitious teacher/problematic students storyline, but it brilliantly combines the ballroom culture with the ghetto and tells a dance story that doesn’t revolve around romance, but faith, self-respect, motivation and concentrates on dance as a weapon at survival. It also has really fun dancing scenes featuring both ballroom dances and the club scenes separately, as well as the wonderful fusion scenes where both dances are combined. My favorite scenes are the ones where Morgan and Pierre dance in the school’s detention room and take the breath of the students and the threesome tango scene where his three students- two boys and a girl- put on one of the sexiest and most fun Tango sequences ever.
There are many reasons to see this film. If you love to dance, any form of dance, see it. If you ever need to restore some faith in the limited opportunities you have, see it. If you like Banderas, this is a must. It is also refreshing to see a dance movie where there is practically no romantic storyline but just sexual chemistry. It is also refreshing to see Banderas in a role where he gets to be the lead without having sex with the female lead and/or taking his clothes off.
6.5 on IMDB. 8/10 from me. Remember, I am addicted to dancing. Freestyle first and all the others second. It is also pretty much as unisex as a dance movie can get.
The “Threesome” Tango Scene
*as Morgan and Pierre dance sexily together)
Eddie: Check Mr Dulaine! He’s just gettin’ his 0flirt on. You can watch the scene below:
Pierre Dulaine: You can get what you want.
Rock: No, some people get what they want.
Pierre Dulaine: Those are the people who show up to get it.
Student: (on how women keep smiling at Pierre because he is being so courteous) But you didn’t get any phone numbers.
Pierre: I didn’t ask for their numbers.
Pierre Dulaine: I understand six languages and I speak five – all with a Spanish accent.
When Eddie sees Pierre for the first time at school, Pierre is wearing a suit and a tie.
Eddie: Yo son, who died?
Pierre Dulaine: Apparently your manners.
Pierre Dulaine: To do something, anything, is hard. It’s much easier to blame your father, your mother, the environment, the government, the lack of money, but even if you find a place to assign the blame,it doesn’t make the problems go away.
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