It looks so simple when the petite, gracile figures float over the dance floor. When every move is brought to perfection, every pirouette suits and every smile never fades. But it is a dream of thousands, only accomplished by a handful. It is a hardcore business. It goes to the substance. “First Position” goes along with attending six young dancers aged 9 to 19 on five continents during the preparations for the Youth America Grand Prix, which could change their life forever. The Youth America Grand Prix is the worldwide biggest international ballet competition, whose winners receive contracts and studentships in the amount of several thousand dollars, whereby they can get a huge step closer to their dream. More than 5000 people are taking part in this competition.
The documentary deals with a lot: dancing, ballet, sweating, hardcore discipline but especially: the real life. After Billy Elliot (2000) and Black Swan (2011), “First Position” is one of the first documentaries which reveals the hardcore ballet business. Becoming a dancer is a dream that is pursued by millions, attempted by thousands and realized by very few. The documentary shows that only talent is not enough to turn dancing into a profession.
The young people who are accompanied by the film also report on the shady sides of their dream. Multiple, daily training, bleeding feet, aching limbs, much renunciation. They have to listen to comments like they never had a childhood, don’t live a normal life and won’t make it anyway. But this is exactly the art in it: always believing in oneself and the dream, never giving up. Day after day. The preparations are hard, the training seems endless and no one, not even the young ones themselves, know if it’s worth it.
They are all working for a moment that decides about the further course of their life. 5000 participants, one performance, five minutes. What is waving is the realization of their dream. What is behind are wider consequences. The youths have to decide whether they put everything on one card to fulfill their dream as a professional dancer. For professional athletes, not having a job training is a high risk they usually have to take.
“First position” shows the real world and the hard, rocky path on the career ladder as a dancer. Director Bess Kargman attended the young people more than a year and became a witness of joy and suffering, victory and defeat. The film received several awards.
A documentary about true stories aside from the boards that mean the world!
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