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Dancing in Jaffa

documentary about a professional ballroom dancer (Pierre Dulaine) who dreamed to return to his home city of Jaffa to bring Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Israeli children (roughly middle school age) together through dance. The movie is about the challenges he faced to convince parents to allow their children to dance together in a ballroom competition (and also the challenges of just getting boys and girls to agree to dance together). I enjoyed the movie overall; I always love to see examples of unique ways teachers use art, music, and various educational experiences to unite very different people. Pierre reminds me of a less funny (and sometimes annoying) version of Bruno on Dancing with the Stars; the movie seemed to focus more on him that on the children he was teaching to dance. I found myself wishing that the movie focused more on the children and their parents and how both changed as a result of the dance competition. I do give the movie a thumbs up; when it focused on the children it was very sweet, and the story provides hope that we can help at least some of our children envision (and maybe create) a world that is much less divided and more understanding of differences. (2014; 3 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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