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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. --Tami Horiuchi
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