Movie Review: “First Position”
Reviewed by Nisreen Galloway, 19
Beyond the pretty pink ballet shoes lies bruised toes, tired bodies, and a passion for dance. First Position, a documentary, sheds light not only on the beauty of ballet but the time, energy, and dedication that it takes to become a ballet dancer.
Directed by Bess Kargman, the film follows the lives of six individuals as they train for the Youth America Grand Prix competition. Though all the dancers vary in age, gender, socio-economic status, and ethnic backgrounds, they share a common love of ballet. The results of their hours of training are evident in each carefully calculated step and beautifully executed spin. Between pliés and pirouettes, they have invested upwards of a thousand dollars in costumes, competition fees, and private instructors in hopes of making it to the Youth America Grand Prix competition finals.
The Youth America Grand Prix is an international contemporary and ballet dance competition where contestants begin their exposure to the professional world of dance. The semi-finals are held in Europe, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. Finalists then compete for the grand prizes in New York City. There, dancers are given five minutes to wow the judges with a solo routine and prove that they are the best in their age division. Both male and female contestants perform in the different age brackets for 9-19 years old in hopes of being noticed by coveted dance companies, ballet schools, and other industry professionals.
The film focuses on the hard work and determination it takes to nail the perfect routine for the judges. As the dancers gracefully leap across the stage, twirl for hours, then land smoothly, First Position gives behind-the-scenes access to the injuries sustained, the training, and discipline that they invest off stage. Whether you love to dance or love to watch dance, this film demonstrates that hard work and passion can lead to success in pursuing your dreams.
For more information please visit: www.balletdocumentary.com
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