“Dancing in Jaffa” opens in theaters in the U.S. today (April 25). Do your best quick step over to a theater near you.
I was thrilled to connect Pierre Dulaine with the Washington Jewish Film Festival for their screening of “Dancing in Jaffa” in March. The documentary won the festival’s Audience Award. “Dancing in Jaffa” is Pierre’s second documentary featuring his highly praised Dancing Classrooms method for children as seen in his first film “Mad Hot Ballroom.”
Jaffa (also called Jopho) is an ancient port city in Israel where Pierre (son of a Palestinian/French Catholic mother and Irish Protestant father), was born in 1944. The family left in 1948. Jaffa has a population of both Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens. In this atmosphere the children are asked to “dance with the enemy” as Pierre describes the challenge he takes upon himself.
If you’re looking for a pick-me-up after the winter blahs, “Dancing in Jaffa” will put a “spring” back in your step. Find a theatre near you.
Below is a clip from the upcoming documentary “Dancing In Jaffa” featuring Pierre Dulaine from “Mad Hot Ballroom.” Hilla Medalia is director and co-producer with Diane Nabatoff who produced the feature film version of “Mad Hot Ballroom,” “Take the Lead.” Pierre was played by Antonio Banderas. Morgan Spurlock of “Supersize Me” fame is an executive producer. An international ballroom dancing star in his own right, Pierre Dulaine brings his Dancing Classrooms home to Jaffa to fulfill his lifelong dream of teaching dance to Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli children, then pairing them in a competition. Were there conflicts? Of course. Was there frustration? Most definitely. Does peace have a future? We certainly hope so.
Last night, I had the honor of meeting Pierre Dulaine, the renowned ballroom dancer and teacher featured in the 2005 documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom” which became the feature film “Take the Lead” with Antonio Banderas as Pierre. Pierre is on a mission to change the world one dance at a time starting with 5th and 8th graders. The Dulaine Method puts the SOCIAL back into dancing. Dance as social enhancer? Social connector? Social diplomat? Just a few weeks ago, I said, the problem with the world is there isn’t enough dancing. That may sound light weight, but there is something magical when people hold hands and move to music. Trust is key in partnered dancing. Pierre’s Dancing Classrooms is going around the globe and has plans for a Dancing Classrooms in Washington, DC. Pierre has brought Dancing Classrooms to Jaffa where he was born. “Dancing in Jaffa” will open in theaters this year. Here Palestinian Israeli and Jewish Israeli children are introduced to the Dulaine Method. The first day must’ve resembled a junior “West Side Story.”