THE INSPIRING TRUE STORY OF A MUMBAI STREET DANCER AND ISRAELI BALLET MASTER
“Dramatic” and a “Feel-good film”, The Village Voice
"…reaches the heart...endearing relationship between Yehuda and his prize pupils", Deadline
“Compelling tale of perseverance, passion and friendship”, Eye On The Arts
Call Me Dancer tells the story of a hip-hop dancer from Mumbai who is forever changed when he accidentally walks into a ballet class. Manish is captivated by ballet’s athleticism but doesn’t tell his struggling parents that he has dropped out of school and used their savings to pay for dance classes. 70-year-old Israeli American Yehuda Ma’or arrives in Mumbai to teach ballet at an inner-city dance school after losing his last teaching position. He once had a renowned career as Israel's top dancer at the Bat Dor Dance Company and had been a teacher to ballet’s greatest stars, like Rudolf Nureyev and Natalia Makarova. Teaching in Mumbai is not what Yehuda is used to – but he needs a job. When he discovers Manish, he feels like he’s won the lottery. Yehuda believes Manish has the right stuff to dance professionally. His dedicated student renews Yehuda’s excitement in teaching. Yehuda trains Manish hard: prodding, cajoling, and encouraging him through 4 classes a day. But competition in the dance world is incredibly daunting. Only 3% of dance students are invited to join professional companies. And Manish started late, at the age of 20, when most students have been training since they were small children.
Call Me Dancer is a story of hope, heartache, and hard work. Together, Manish and Yehuda transform each other’s lives, searching to uncover who and what they are. Yehuda seeks a purpose and a place to call home. Manish dreams of dancing on the world-stage but struggles to break free from the confines of his own economic and social circumstances.
Since the world film festival premiere in February 2023, Call Me Dancer has won 10 film festival awards, five of which are Audience Awards at festivals throughout the US and Canada, in Israel and rest of world.