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Plot: A documentary that follows six young dancers from around the world as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world. Runtime: 95 mins Release Date: 04 May 2012
This is a great film. Why does it have such a low rating? (by Red-125)
First Position 2011 , directed by Bess Kargman, is an excellent film about young ballet dancers. For reasons I can't understand, as I write this review, the movie carries an IMDb rating of a dismal 6.2. How can that be? Did the viewers who rated it "1" see the same film I saw?The movie follows seven young ballet dancers as they prepare for, and then compete in, the prestigious Grand Prix competition. As pointed out in the movie, many physical activities in which people participate involve natural movements for which the human body is well suited. Catching a baseball, swimming, <more>
or climbing a rope are not easy, but our species has the natural physical capabilities to do these things. Ballet dancing, especially en pointe ballet dancing, is not a natural activity for us. We simply are not constructed to literally walk on the tips of our toes. The feet have to be trained and remodeled to allow this activity to take place. And, of course, not only do ballet dancers dance on their toes, but when they are doing this they are supposed to make their movements elegant, graceful, and apparently effortless. Although male ballet dancers don't dance en pointe, their movements are also extraordinarily difficult. One young male dancer shows us his "foot stretcher," and tells us, "It hurts a lot."So, serious ballet dancing requires physical traits that are extraordinary, dedication so that ballet becomes central to your life, and the capability to absorb physical pain that would be "cruel and unusual punishment" if it weren't voluntary.Director Kargman has put together a documentary that takes us inside the lives of these young dancers. We meet their coaches, their families, and their judges. Also, of course, we go to the Grand Prix with the dancers, and we learn whether they succeed or fail.I thought the movie was honest, creative, and balanced. These young people are not "regular kids who happen to take ballet." They are dedicated, passionate, and fanatically determined to succeed. First Position brings us into the world of ballet training, and allows us to make our own decisions about the wisdom of encouraging your child to dance and compete at this level. It's a great film. Why does it have such a low rating?
This documentary takes a little time to pull you in but it succeeds nicely. A little patience is required but it is worth it !I like most people expected to be bored senseless with this but instead I now appreciate classical dance much more.This is because director Bess Kargman pays attention to the sufferings hard work and devotion and lets not forget beauty of what these young people go through and what they do.She lets us see the toll ballet takes on these kids emotions and feet. Yes I said feet. Bruised bloody feet. And all the emotional strain as well.Watch for the African girl who <more>
dances with a bad ankle and it is just normal for every one around her and nobody tries to dissuade her!I could empathize and feel the dramatic as the competition nears and judgement is made in the various categories.I gave this documentary 8 stars. But it might as well be 10 because it did hold my attention about a subject I had no interest in whatsoever. I didn't want to see it. For shame. I am glad I spent the money on this film.I was going to see an other film for the second time because the Embassy in Waltham has $6.00 Tuesdays. When there's a new film showing? What a waste!
Must watch for ALL ballet dancers! (by candydancer18)
This is a great movie! This movie isn't for all people, mind you. It's only for ballet dancers, people who want to become professional dancers, parents of ballet dancers, ballet teachers, and people interested in the concept of ballet.This shows all the hardships of ballet, particularly on how the YAGP goes down.This is tremendous movie and I really suggest going and seeing it! I have been waiting for a year for this movie to come out in theatres! In the USA, it comes out MAY/JUNE/JULY and in Canada, it comes out in JULY.
Mesmerizing and Fascinating Documentary (by larrys3)
Produced and directed by Bess Kargman, this is a fascinating and riveting documentary.Each year, the world's largest ballet competition is held, for young dancers ages 9-19, called the Youth America Grand Prix. In 15 cities around the world five thousand young dancers compete in the semi-finals for 300 slots in the finals in New York City. They will get five minutes on stage, judged by directors and top personnel from some of the world's most prodigious ballet companies, to try and win scholarships or job contracts for their future careers.As many of these documentaries are presented, <more>
seven hopefuls, with very diverse backgrounds, are followed in their preparations, training and personal lives. I found all of the competitors to be extremely interesting and it was hard to pick a favorite.You couldn't ask more from a documentary with vivid portrayals of the young dancers and their families, as well as the suspense of the competition itself.
I don't like ballet....yet I liked this film! (by MartinHafer)
"First Position" is an incredibly interesting documentary. I say this because I hate ballet...yet I found myself seriously drawn into the lives of these kids. It must be good if it could win me over, that's for sure.This film is about a group of kids who are trying to make it in ballet field. They range in age from 8 to 17 and are from various countries--including the US, Columbia and Israel. And, through the course of the film, you see them in various international competitions--trying to win awards, scholarships and, perhaps, jobs.While none of this on the surface sounds that <more>
interesting, the film has several things going for it. First, many of the kids are incredibly likable and are amazing to watch. The most amazing of these is the insanely talented 11 year-old boy who is just gorgeous to watch as he dances it looked so easy and his joy as he danced was infectious . Second, a few of the stories pulled me in and got me excited--such as the girl originally from Sierra Leone and the SUPER-annoying mother who pushed her boy to dance even though he clearly was not interested. Third, the film lacks narration and just lets the folks talk--and most of the best documentaries do this. Fourth, and this one surprised me, I found myself REALLY, REALLY caring about the kids. As the final competition progressed, I was on the edge of my seat. Well worth seeing.
Probably the best documentary I have ever seen. The acting, music and interviews are all superb. This movie has almost more of an entertainment feel than a typical documentary that has a more educational feel. I will almost certainly watch this again in the future. It makes me want to be a dancer too!
Young talents bring hope to our future (by Kicino)
A nicely crafted documentary about six youngsters working extremely hard for the highly competitive Young American Grand Prix YAGP for ballet dancers aged 9-19. These focused kids are among 300 finalists chosen from 1,500 contestants from all over the world. Winners of the grand prix will receive prizes, elite dance company contracts or scholarships at top ballet schools. The film traces their hardworking daily training routine, setbacks and their hopes. We also catch a glimpse of their family life while these aspiring young men and women talk about their dreams and passion. It is an <more>
excellent production which captures the drive and aspirations of these young people from various background – and the care of their parents, whether they are mixed couple, foster parents, in the military or ordinary Americans. What we see is not only the kid's passion, but also how their parents bend backwards and revolve their lives around their children's talents and interest. It goes so far that a company has to move and school has to give way to home schooling so that the kids can have more time to dance. So a two- hour each way commune is nothing. Equally admirable and impressive is the trust, confidence and pride of the parents, not to mention their invaluable support. Some of these parents are dancers or musicians but whatever their experience is, they have enormous trust/belief in their kids and wholeheartedly support their children. However, there is a fine line between them and the helicopter or monster parents who impose on their kids in the name of "for the sake of their own good." I have heard that some kids in Hong Kong are forced to learn the piano since they were young and incidents are: once the kids pass all the grade exams they never touch the piano again. But what we see in the movie is that all the six characters have developed a genuine love and interest for ballet from within. Despite their young age and development stage, in order to strive for excellence in ballet, they are willing to give up a big part of their personal life including separating from the family, going out with friends, eating anything they want, suffer and endure various injuries etc. Their parents are just behind them. The coaches are interesting characters too – or the director just chose the more lively coaches and to film. We can see that these coaches are also human – they can be strict and mean but they are well-liked and respected - whether they are French or Colombian or Russian or American. The editing and directing is excellent with witty and funny dialogues or facial expressions and they are all real! intersperse between intense and competitive scenes. It slowly set the stage for the nerve breaking YAGP and by then we are almost part of the family of the youngsters and really hope their efforts pay off.Like their parents and coaches, I also held my breath as the kids performed in their 5 minute appearance on stage for the Grand Prix. Competition is tough, but we can see the kid's determination, maturity and intense focus. The endurance and passion is so strong that it would overshadow the physical pain! Success does not come from luck. We also see support, respect and recognition of their potentials pay a very important role in shaping these youngsters' lives.We witness that when you are doing something you love, even the pain will be gone and you will go on. This resilience combined with their talent speak loud and clear why they are ahead of other dancers despite their huge prices to pay.An excellent documentary for parents, students, teachers, coaches and anyone interested in ballet/music/sports and nurturing our next generation. Highly recommended.
I felt very informed and inspired after watching First Position! (by TinyDanseur27)
First Position was a brilliant documentary in my opinion! It gives the audience an intimate look at the lives of seven dancers ages 9-17 who are preparing for the Youth America Grand Prix international ballet competition. They each are hoping to receive a scholarship to study at a world-renown ballet institution, or a job offer so that they can achieve their dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. The documentary addresses the lifestyles of these children, their performances at the Grand Prix semi-finals, and eventually the finals in New York City.I felt like this gave a really <more>
interesting and accurate depiction of the lives of these young dancers. The kids they picked to interview were very diverse and likable. I found myself routing for all of them. Also important, the documentary addressed how this career path has affected the lives of the parents of the children. The parents vary from loving and supportive to completely overbearing. I enjoyed the variety of approaches to the same goal.I really would recommend this documentary. The subject is really interesting. The way it is filmed and edited is ideal not too fast, not too slow and the dancing is absolutely breath-taking. I felt very informed and very inspired after watching First Position.
Producer/Director Beth Kargman has put together a wonderful documentary that follows six young ballet dancers to the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most important of all ballet competitions worldwide.The prizes at the competition include awards of recognition, scholarships, and work with major dance companies. The dancers are in several age ranges and ethnicities and include 11-year-old Aaron Bell, Joan Sebastian Zamora, a dancer from Colombia, Michaela Deprince,a black dancer, Jules and Miko Fogarty, of mixed ethnicity, pretty Israeli Gaya Bommer, and all-American girl Rebecca <more>
Houseknecht.Michaela and her sister were adopted from Sierra Leone, where there was nothing but death and poverty. Michaela has been told that blacks make unsuitable ballet dancers -- bad feet, too muscular, wrong build etc. For the competition, her teacher has her dance against type, doing a feminine, delicate dance.Zamora lives in New York, far away from his family, but his father tells him there is nothing for him in Colombia and he has to go after his dream. Rebecca is a cheerleader and normal kid whose passion is dance, and Aaron doesn't tell other kids he's a dancer. All of them have great talent, as we can see from their dance routines at the Grand Prix. Zamora has stardom written all over him. Jules has decided he really doesn't like ballet, which hurts his mother, but she accepts it.A very inspiring documentary about youngsters from different backgrounds and social status with the dream of dancing in the ballet, and the sacrifices they have made to achieve their goal. The dancing is heavenly; I only wish there had been more of it.Good luck to all these kids. I'm sure we'll be hearing about most of them as time goes on.