Ballroom dancing has gone from obscure to phenomenon. People love Dancing with the Stars, and internationally ballroom dancing has exploded as both spectator and participation sports. Denmark produces many international dance stars, and Dance For Me follows Danish teen Mie and her Russian partner Egor as they try to win the European Championships, a stepping stone to the International Championships.

At age fifteen, Egor’s mom, herself a dance instructor, sends her fifteen-year old son to live in Denmark with the Funch family. Egor wants the opportunity to be a successful international dance champion, and fourteen-year old Mie Funch (who is very emotionally mature) needs a strong dance partner. Egor has been recruited to live with Mie, her dance career focused mother, and her cab driver father.

Egor must adjust to a different social and cultural world in Denmark, though English, the new lingua franca, makes communication easier. Along with learning Danish, he’s taking Chinese in order to prepare for what his mother and the Funch family hope will be the teens’ participation in the International Championships in China–but first they must get through the Danish and European finals. A sensitive young man, torn between ambition and isolation, he struggles with his own expectations and those of the adults around him.

And there are problems. Mrs. Funch worries about the interactions between her daughter and Egor, both on and off the dance floor. As dance partners Egor and Mie must learn each other’s psychology and rhythms in order to make it through complex dance routines and the tension of competition, and Egor knows that if he doesn’t produce wins, he will be sent home.

Tonight’s guests, Director Katrine Philp and Producer Lise Saxtrup join us from Denmark to discuss their lyrical and meditative film about talent, ambition and the passion for dancing.

Dance for Me debuts on PBS’ POV July 21 2014. Check your local PBS station for air times.