Synopsis by Mark Deming
Billy Roth was the product of a damaged home environment where he was left behind by his parents at the age of four and spent his childhood shuttled between the homes of various relatives. A victim of abuse and a troubled young man, Roth seemed likely to fall into a life of crime and violence until an uncle taught him the basics of boxing and he developed a talent for the sport. Roth became a good enough fighter to turn pro, but always remembered how boxing helped him turn his life around, and he began volunteering his time at the Louisiana State Prison in Angola, where he taught boxing to the inmates. Over the space of 44 years, Roth taught fighting to dozens of inmates, serving as a father figure and an inspiration as well as a coach. Many convicts -- most serving time for serious crimes of violence -- credit "Pops" (as Roth was nicknamed) with helping them regain self-respect and a sense of purpose, and one, Clifford "The Black Rhino" Etienne, has a fair shot of winning the World's Heavyweight Championship. The Dance is a documentary about Roth's life and times, featuring interviews with him as well as many of the men he's coached over the years. The first feature film from artist-turned-filmmaker John Darling Haynes, The Dance features narration from country music star Trace Adkins.
boxing, coach, prison, surrogate-parent, dreams-of-success, perseverance, neglect, volunteer, convict