Detente on the dance floor, in an unlikely place, is the intriguing subject matter of the entertaining documentary "Dancing in Jaffa."
Pierre Dulaine, a ballroom dancer with four world championships to his credit, returns to his hometown of Jaffa, Israel, with diplomacy on his mind.
Aware of the political and religious issues he will face, Dulaine brings his "Dancing Classrooms" program that he operates in New York City to this culturally divided city.
Jaffa, a suburb of Tel Aviv, is the gateway to the Holy Land and a port city comprised of Jews, Arabs and Palestinians.
For 10 weeks, he works with 10-year-old Palestinian-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli youngsters, teaching them how to tango, do the rhumba and the merengue, culminating in a dance contest.
Along the way, there will be obstacles, naturally, as well as roadblocks by parents and others.
Director Hilla Medelia focuses on several kids, effectively showing this growth period, through their journeys.
This well-done documentary is an inspiring example of character-building, and how you can strip humanity down to the basics, and learn that we're very similar.
Dancing with the enemy doesn't solve issues that have gone on for decades, but we can measure some progress in students' interactions. The power is palpable, as it's a modern glimpse at how art can transform people.
3 1/2 stars out of 4
Director: Hilla Medalia
Rated: Not Rated, Documentary