This listing is for He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin VHS Jacques d'Amboise.
Actors: Jacques d'Amboise, Judy Collins, Kevin Kline, Lee Norris, George Balanchine
Directors: Emile Ardolino
Producers: Emile Ardolino, Edgar J. Scherick, Judy Kinberg, Scott Rudin
Format: Color, NTSC
Rated: NR - Not Rated
Number of tapes: 1
VHS Release Date: November 24, 1998
Run Time: 51 minutes
Why do over 1,000 New York City schoolchildren audition for a modern dance program that requires them to sacrifice free time and involvement in sports and music? For a chance to study with the charismatic Jacques d'Amboise at the National Dance Institute. Jacques d'Amboise is an inspired teacher with a knack for nurturing creativity and ambition. His philosophy--that creativity exists within everyone and that trying one's best ensures success--forms the foundation of a unique dance program. This 48-minute documentary from 1983 chronicles one school-year-long program including initial auditions, rehearsals, and the creation of an exclusive "SWAT" team, and culminates in an amazing, year-end performance at New York's Felt Forum. Program participants describe the work and fun involved in the program, praise d'Amboise's teaching methods, and compare the discipline required to that of organized sports. D'Amboise's enthusiasm is infectious--children, parents, teachers, professional dancers and musicians, and even local law enforcement officers find themselves involved in his productions. This Academy Award-winning documentary details the inspiring story of how one talented dancer's vision flourished into a coveted New York City dance program. For an in-depth look at how studying the arts as a child enriches and shapes one's adult life, check out Who's Dancin' Now?, a follow-up documentary that interviews several of these same child participants 16 years later.
I first saw this documentary 16 years ago and it remains one of my favorites. I believe it won an Academy Award for documentary short. It's about Jacques D'Amboise, a principle ballet dancer in NYC for 27 years (you can see him in the musicals Carousel and Oklahoma), and how he founded a dance program for children in New York City. As he says in the video, Mr. D'Amboise believes in getting children involved in the arts early on, forever making the arts a part of their lives. Beginning with one school and about 30 children, it has grown into a major project that (at the time of the documentary) involved over 1,000 children from schools all over the city. Including many interviews and comments from the children themselves, this documentary is funny and entertaining and touching. Incidentally, for his many years of work and inspiration, Jacques D'Amboise received one of the Kennedy Center Honors a couple of years ago.
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