How to Dance in Ohio

Watch How to Dance in Ohio

"A Simple Rite Of Passage Can Take Extraordinary Courage"
  • TV-G
  • 2015
  • 1 hr 29 min
  • 7.7  (276)

How to Dance in Ohio is a captivating documentary that follows the lives of a group of teenagers and young adults with autism spectrum disorders as they prepare for their first social dance. This heartfelt and insightful film, directed by Alexandra Shiva, offers a window into a world that is often misunderstood and marginalized, and celebrates the transformative power of friendship, community, and self-expression.

The film takes place in Columbus, Ohio, where the local Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders organizes a dance for its clients once a year. For many of the participants, this is a rare opportunity to socialize, have fun, and experience a sense of belonging that is often elusive in their everyday lives. But for some, the idea of attending a dance - let alone asking someone to dance - is a daunting prospect that requires courage, patience, and practice.

Shiva introduces us to four main characters, each with a unique personality and challenges. We meet Marideth, a vibrant and outgoing 16-year-old who dreams of becoming a Disney animator and whose social skills are hindered by her sensory sensitivities and anxiety. We also meet Caroline, a soft-spoken and reflective 19-year-old who struggles with body image issues and trust, as well as her overprotective mother who worries about her daughter's future. Then there's Jessica and Abraham, both in their mid-twenties and in a romantic relationship, who face the complexities of intimacy, communication, and independence as they navigate their transition to adulthood.

The film follows these characters over several months as they attend therapy sessions, social skills groups, and dance rehearsals. We see how their therapists and caregivers teach them coping strategies, communication techniques, and social norms that can help them navigate the challenges of everyday life. We also see how their families and friends offer support, encouragement, and love, while also facing their own fears, prejudices, and limitations.

One of the strengths of How to Dance in Ohio is how it shows the multiplicity of experiences and emotions that come with autism, and how no two individuals are the same. Some of the participants are highly verbal and articulate, while others struggle with processing language or expressing themselves. Some are highly active and energetic, while others prefer quiet and solitude. Some are highly motivated and goal-oriented, while others struggle with motivation and focus. Through the film, we get a sense of the diversity of the autism spectrum, and how it can both challenge and enrich one's life.

Another strength of the film is how it portrays the dance as a metaphor for life, and how the skills and lessons learned in dance can apply to other areas of one's life. We see how the participants learn to overcome their fears and insecurities, to trust themselves and others, to communicate their needs and emotions, to respect boundaries and norms, and to embrace their individuality and creativity. We see how dance can be a form of self-expression, of joy, of connection, and of growth.

The dance itself is a powerful moment in the film, as we see the participants dressed in their finest clothes, smiling and laughing, and dancing with each other and with their families and friends. We see how some of them surprise themselves with their abilities and confidence, while others struggle with the loud music, the crowds, or the social cues. We also see how the dance is a transformative experience for many of them, as they realize that they are not alone, that they are valued and loved, and that they have a place in the world.

Overall, How to Dance in Ohio is a moving and insightful film that offers a poignant and nuanced portrayal of autism spectrum disorders, and how they affect individuals, families, and communities. The film is a testament to the resilience, creativity, and humanity of its subjects, and to the power of film to educate, inspire, and connect people of all backgrounds. Whether you have a personal connection to autism, or simply wish to learn more about a subject that affects millions of people worldwide, this film is a must-see.

How to Dance in Ohio is a 2015 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 29 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7.

How to Dance in Ohio
Where to Watch How to Dance in Ohio
How to Dance in Ohio is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Hulu, Max and Amazon Prime. Some platforms allow you to rent How to Dance in Ohio for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 29 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (276)