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A handsome Cuban sweeps a professional dance instructor off her feet with his unschooled footwork and undeniable charm in this story of torrid passion and sizzling hot dancing.
It's not exactly Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but this 1998 entry, starring Vanessa Williams and newcomer Chayanne offers its own terpsichorean pleasures. The story centers on Rafael Infante Chayanne, a Cuban émigré to Texas, where he takes a menial job at a local dance studio run by John Burnett Kris Kristofferson. There, he falls for Ruby Sinclair Vanessa Williams, a one-time ballroom championship contender looking for the opportunity to compete for the title once more. The romance seems a foregone conclusion but has some snap thanks to a crisp performance by Williams and a sunny if limited one by Chayanne, a singing star in Puerto Rico. Best of all is the dancing itself. In terms of both energy, exuberance, and style, this film's dance sequences rank with the best of the decade's limited celebration of the kinetic art, such as Strictly Ballroom and Shall We Dance. Though the movie's central plot secret seems obvious from the first downbeat, the film takes off every time the dance music kicks in. --Marshall Fine