Directed by Marilyn Agrelo, starring Allison Sheniak, Alex Tchassov, Emma Biegacki, Tara Devon Gallagher, Michael Vaccaro, Jia Wen Zhu, Priscilla Kwong, Victoria Malvagno, Yomaira Reynoso, Rodney Lopez, Wilson Castillo, Jatnna Toribio and Elsamelys Ulerio.

This fascinating documentary follows fifth-grade students from three public grade schools in New York City as they progress through a programme that instructs them in the art of ballroom dancing.

The basic premise is that in ten weeks (20 one-hour sessions) the fifth-graders learn the merengue, foxtrot, rumba, tango, swing and a couple of line dances. They can then decide whether to send a representative team to compete in a citywide competition.

Director Marilyn Agrelo and writer Amy Sewell looked at 20 of the 60 schools involved before eventually narrowing it down to just three that they would concentrate on.

PS (Public School) 150 is in Tribeca, which is an area in prosperous downtown Manhattan. This is the most multi-cultural of the schools involved and has two intriguing girls in Emma Biegacki and Tara Devon Gallagher. Emma is wise beyond her years and always has something interesting to say, no matter what the subject. Tara was born to be a dancer and has a look of determination in her eyes that is rare in an 11-year-old.

PS 112 is in Bensonhurst, in the borough of Brooklyn. These half-Italian, half-Asian, bunch are by far the most laid-back and enjoyable group. They embody the spirit of the programme, as although they would dearly love to win they embrace the experience without ever taking it too seriously.

PS 115 is in Washington Heights, which is an area of social and economic depravation in uptown Manhattan. It is a Dominican immigrant stronghold and from the very first time we are introduced it is clear that here, in contrast to the other two camps, winning is the foremost concern.

Yomaira Reynoso is the feisty teacher whose hardline approach doesn't sit well with all her pupils. She clearly cares, but it is hard to distinguish whether she wants to succeed for the kids' benefit, or for her own personal satisfaction.

Again the children are the show stealers and through their tales and anecdotes you get a picture of the desperate situation they find themselves in. There is always a bright side, though, and in this case it is Wilson Castillo. A boy who doesn't even speak English and yet inspires those around him with his amazing dancing talent.

Modern-day America may make many of us despair, but seeing the next generation of New Yorkers offers hope that maybe, just maybe, there is a brighter future for the world's only superpower.

So, instead of wasting your time tuning in to 'I'm A Catastrophe... Get Me Out of Here!' or 'Strictly Come Prancing', do yourself a favour and go and see this inspirational and often funny film about charismatic youngsters with REAL ability.

In an age of mindless television, this is the kind of reality that we all should be watching.

Séamus Leonard