Six dancers. Five minutes on stage. One chance to make it.
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- Released: October 30, 2012
- Originally Released: 2011
- Label: Ifc Independent Film
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Note: Commentary with Filmmaker Bess Kargman
- Full length performances
- Training & Rehearsal Footage
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.78
- Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English
- Dolby Digital 5.1 - English
- Subtitles - English, Spanish
Bess Kargman's debut documentary is a marvelous way to spend 94 minutes....FIRST POSITION is about toughness of mind as much as visions of beauty.
Wall Street Journal
Rating: 3/5 -- A griping documentary following several ballet hopefuls as they prepare for an international competition. Full Review
[T]his isn't just a documentary about ballet and the extraordinary discipline it requires; it's also about youth and its attendant hopes and risks, spelled out in language that's painfully universal.
Rating: 2/5 -- Settles for heartwarming "follow your dreams" platitudes rather than following the cold realities of being a dancer. Full Review
Little White Lies
These performers are so young, so serious, so full of dreams and so hard on themselves that it is difficult not to be moved by their striving.
Los Angeles Times
Rating: 3/4 -- It does a great job developing its characters through its visuals - these are superphysical kids - and honing in on family dynamics. Full Review
Globe and Mail
Each of her six young subjects vying for the Youth America Grand Prix is a wonder of self-imposed discipline in service to art. -- Grade: B+
Six dance students follow the same dream against long odds in this documentary from filmmaker Bess Kargman. The Youth America Grand Prix is a competition for young ballet students between the ages of 9 and 19; it's one of the world's leading proving grounds for new talent, and most major dance companies and schools pay close attention to who fares well in the annual contest. Each year, thousands of dancers enter, but only 300 make it into the finals, held in New York City. FIRST POSITION follows six youngsters who've entered the Grand Prix, and their lives and backgrounds offer a glimpse into the wide range of competitors. Sixteen-year-old Joan Sebastian Zamora is from Colombia, and his parents have sent him to America to train with a top instructor; he has to deal with his family's high expectations as well as those of the judges. Miko Fogarty is a 12-year-old from Palo Alto, CA, who dreams of becoming a professional; her parents believe in her, but also want her younger brother to follow in her footsteps, whether he's willing to or not. Fourteen-year-old Michaela DePrince was born in Sierra Leone, and is still haunted by memories of the bloody civil war there; she's since been adopted by a couple in Philadelphia, and dreams of becoming a star in a field where African-Americans are still not well-represented. Rebecca Houseknecht is a 17-year-old from Maryland who looks like a star, and she hopes to skip college and go directly into professional dance. Aran Bell, 11, is the son of a military doctor; he's determined to learn, and while his family is in Italy, he travels hours each day for lessons with a former star of the Ballet Marseilles. And Gaya Bommer Yemini, a close friend of Aran, is the daughter of Nadine Bommer, a well-respected Israeli choreographer, who hopes to follow her mother into the world of ballet. FIRST POSITION received its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.
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