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Fox Lorber presents
Who's Dancin' Now (1999)

"Quite often, the process of achieving the goal that you set to be your best, the process of learning to do it, gives you the skills to set those goals higher. It's like climbing a ladder that goes on all your life. These children all have potential in them, mind-boggling. And when you give them this dance program that says 'Take a chance, you can do it, work, discipline, try, get better, get better, get better,' well, that applies whether they become astronauts or forest rangers or underwater photographers or whatever they do. They carry this success in the early age, that gives them a trail to follow, a guide, for them all their life."
- Jacques d'Amboise

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: August 02, 2001

Stars: Jacques d'Amboise
Other Stars: Bill Clinton
Director: Judy Kinberg

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable; one bleeped obscenity)
Run Time: 01h:25m:16s
Release Date: July 10, 2001
UPC: 720917313528
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B A-B+B+ D

DVD Review

In 1983, New York public television station WNET made a documentary called He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin', about ballet star Jacques d'Amboise's program for children, the National Dance Institute. This 1999 documentary revisits those same children to see what influence the NDI has had upon them in their lives since. Using intercutting of their pursuits today, 1983 footage and film of the current lot of NDI participants, WNET crafts an inspirational film that gives one hope for the future.

All too often, the kids one hears about are spraying automatic weaponry amongst their classmates, or dealing drugs, or having children of their own or vandalizing million-year-old fossils. This presentation makes a much more positive display of youngsters and gives a sense that they are willing to achieve given a proper opportunity, high expectations and a modicum of patience. The NDI alumni uniformly cite the experience as giving them strength and guidance for themselves to deal with failure and to be extroverted and positive. Of course, we don't see the kids who were thrown out of the class; we're supposed to assume that they're trading sex for crack in an alley somewhere, I guess.

The 1983 NDI alums are teachers, stockbrokers and analysts, NIH science writers, child talent agents, comics, candy shop operator/classicists, divorce attorneys, landscape architects and ski instructors, and all seem to be extraordinarily well-adjusted. The talent agent is probably the most intriguing story; her bridging of teaching kindergarten to the stage is extraordinarily affecting and we see her interacting with her clients in a warm and positive way. Yet she is also effectively preparing them for the rough-and-tumble competitive world of auditions.

The program ends up highly inspirational, though not in a Buscaglia feel-good type way, but in one that respects discipline and achievement rather than simple blind acceptance. It also reads like a big commercial for the NDI, but I'm not sure that that's a bad thing. From what's shown here, it looks like we could use a lot more of such things as NDI.

Oddly enough, there's precious little dance shown here. It's mostly just fleeting little bits, without much in the way of coherence. Dance fans will be disappointed if they're looking for substantial dance material. However, they probably will get a reward from the obvious joy that the children have in their activity, and that's certainly worthwhile. The documentary made me wish that such a program had been accessible to me when I was a kid; I probably wouldn't be in a dark room doing DVD reviews if it had.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Considering this documentary is shot on video tape, it looks quite good indeed, with good clarity. The color is terrific, bright and vivid thorughout. Black levels are rather marginal. The 1983 footage looks pretty dismal in comparison.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: A 2.0 sound is included. The surrounds on Dolby Surround decoding kick in only briefly for some background music. The vast remainder of the program is highly center-oriented. The dialogue is always easily understood. Hiss and noise levels are only nominal.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Weblinks to Fox Lorber DVD newsletter, an interview with Jacques d'Amboise, Dancer links, Therapeutic Dance for Special Needs Children and WNET.
Extras Review: Not much. A two-screen bio of d'Amboise, and a couple of weblinks, and that's it. Oddly, the weblinks don't include the NDI, so we include it here. The link for therapeutic dance for special needs children was not functioning when we tried it, one of the problems inherent in making such ephemeral things as URLs part of a permanent format as DVD.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

An interesting look back at the 1983 alumni of the National Dance Institute, heavy on interview footage as opposed to dance, and likewise heavy on inspiration and motivation.


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