Antonio Banderas film “Take the Lead” inspires passion in unlikely places

Inspired by a true story, “Take the Lead” creates an energetic, new style of dance for an underachieving New York City school system, and brings Antonio Banderas back on the big screen, this time as a ballroom dancer. It is indeed a refreshing reminder that movies can still satisfy viewers’ desires for drama without violence, sex and horror. “Take the Lead” is perfect for the entire family as it teaches many important life-lessons, and Antonio Banderas wows audiences with his niche for acting and his near-perfect body.

Pierre Dulaine (Banderas) volunteers to teach in the New York City public school system, amidst some very unacceptable conditions and manages to encourage these underprivileged students to gain a new outlook on life. From metal detectors and filthy floors to short-attention-span students and apathetic co-workers, Dulaine has taken on a huge responsibility. His students see violence and terror as commonplace, but Dulaine’s classic methods mesh well with his students’ passion for hip-hop, and the two manage to teach each other more than just dance along the way.

Directed by Liz Friedlander and written by Dianne Houston, “Take the Lead” gives hope to children who might not see life behind the projects and illustrates how Dulaine’s students gradually improved their dancing skills, mannerisms and lifestyles through hard work and determination. Friedlander has worked with a plethora of musical artists throughout her career and it came as no surprise that her first movie combined cutting-edge dance moves with some oldies.

Banderas and his team of dance prodigies met the real Dulaine several times during the filming of the movie. His dance program has attracted over 10,000 kids throughout New York City schools. “Take the Lead” has been referred to as “You Got Served” meets “Dirty Dancing,” and it certainly introduces us to a different art form and some fairly new actors and actresses. Its’ tagline reads “Never Follow” and “Take the Lead” has certainly done everything but follow.

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