The first scenes of Take the Lead do a good job of doing just that—taking the lead and showing us where the movie is going to take us. As the opening credits roll, we see about six different characters getting ready for a dance. Well, two dances, actually—some are going to a fancy-schmancy ballroom affair uptown, and some are going to a school dance at inner-city New York John Drake High School. The difference in their outfits—from a tight denim mini-skirt to a floor-length satiny ballgown, from uber-low-rise jeans to a tux with tails—says a lot about how diverse these people are. But despite the difference in outfits, socio-economic background, spaciousness or cleanliness of home, we see them all carefully fixing their hair, selecting just the right jewelry, even practicing a few moves in the mirror as they go. Dance is the unifying factor. Dance is the universal appeal and the common denominator.
And the man who dances most deftly between the two worlds of posh and underprivileged, is Pierre Dulaine (Antonio Banderas), teaching ballroom, tango, and life lessons as he goes. In one of the opening (and more ridiculous) scenes of the movie, we see Pierre riding his bicycle home from that evening's ballroom competition, still decked out in his tails, which miraculous don't get caught in his bicycle spokes (he's just that smooth). On his way, he witnesses a couple of high school students vandalizing a car with a golf club. Seemingly fearless, Pierre schwins on up to the scene and confronts the one with the club, taking the name badge hanging from the car's rearview mirror before he goes.
When he returns the badge to its owner at John Drake High School the next morning—it belongs to the principal who'd ...1
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Take the Lead
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