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'Mad Hot Ballroom' Screening in Uptown Park for Film's 10th Anniversary

 Students practice in Highbridge Park during a scene from
Students practice in Highbridge Park during a scene from "Mad Hot Ballroom."
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Claudia Raschke-Robinson

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — You can brush up on your foxtrot and tango at a 10th anniversary screening of "Mad Hot Ballroom" Wednesday featuring stars of the NYC-based documentary.

The award-winning film follows a group of fifth-graders from three different public schools, including P.S. 115 in Washington Heights, as they learn to ballroom dance and compete in a citywide competition.

The film also delves into more serious subject matter — such as the socioeconomic differences between students from Washington Heights and those from a public school in Tribeca — through interviews with the teachers and students.

Some of the students, who are now college graduates, will attend the screening at J. Hood Wright Park, joined by director Marilyn Agrelo and producer Amy Sewell.

Dancing Classrooms, the program featured in the film, serves over 200 schools and 25,000 children a year in New York City.

Wednesday's screening will kick off the city’s expansion of its “Movies Under the Stars” series, which aims is to bring an additional 150 films to a wider variety of neighborhood parks this year. Parks hosting screenings for the first time include Inwood Hill Park and Fort Washington Park, as well as many others throughout the five boroughs.

“We want all New Yorkers to experience the fun and novelty of watching a film outdoors right in their own neighborhood,” said Commissioner Cynthia López from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “This is our opportunity to thank residents for hosting filming in their community and provide New Yorkers with increased access to cultural programming.”

Many of the screenings will be of classic New York films, including “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” “Annie” and “Ghostbusters.” The program runs from August through October.

The free screening of “Mad Hot Ballroom” will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 19.