How to Dance in Ohio: ‘We like to socialize, but we don’t know how.’

Whatever the etiology, the number of children who develop autism has increased dramatically, if not exponentially. This tragic phenomenon has created an inevitable subculture—with micro-cultures within that subculture. One of those sub-subcultures is individuals ‘on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum.’

htdio-still-5How to Dance in Ohio follows a group of adolescents who receive a variety of services at the Amigo Family Counseling center in Columbus, Ohio. The center was founded by Dr. Emilio Amigo in 1993. Amigo, as far as I can tell, is the source of the film’s inciting incident—a formal dance party at a local club.

Director Alexandra Shiva follows Amigo and his ‘higher functioning’ adolescent charges as they live, learn, and grow through three months of preparations for this high-stakes Amigo Spring Formal.

How to Dance in Ohio immediately went on my personal all-time favorites list. I am in awe of Amigo’s skills, dedication, and the care he provides this challenged and challenging population. I am in equal awe of filmmaker Shiva’s ability to so sensitively cover the lives and stories of these young people.

In addition to the delicate touch this film’s production required and received, I am also impressed with both the quality of sound and image the production crew achieved.

How to Dance in Ohio is distributed by Kino Lorber.

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