FIRST POSITION Dances To On DemandMay 22, 2012
On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: FIRST POSITION (Sundance Selects).
By Amy Slotnick
The prestigious Youth America Grand Prix is like the Olympics of dance, where the world’s best classical dance students compete for scholarships or placement with the top ballet schools and companies. Director Bess Kargman’s first feature documentary film, FIRST POSITION, follows six gifted dancers, ranging in age, ethnic and economic backgrounds, all of whom share a dream to satisfy their unique gift and passion.
Over 5,000 dancers compete worldwide, and of those, 300 make it to the YAGP finals in New York City. The six dancers featured in the film, aged 11-16, come from places as diverse as Sierra Leone, Columbia and Israel. They have all sacrificed childhood normalcy in exchange for intense dedication, long hours of practice and physical abuse (you should see their feet!).
They each have a compelling narrative involving endurance and talent, equivalent to that of any professional athlete.
The dancers’ back-stories and individual challenges are immediately involving; at such a young age each finds themselves playing a high stakes game that could change the course of their careers. Although the weight of this would typically be too much, they all thrive on a love of dance that is greater than any amount of pressure and wouldn’t trade the opportunity for anything.
It is inspiring to watch their commitment and Kargman does an excellent job with revealing their stories with empathy and awe.
Amy Slotnick is a contributor to On Demand Weekly. She works as an independent producer and freelance consultant to film financing start-ups. Previously she was a Senior VP of Production at Miramax Films.
FIRST POSITION (Sundance Selects) is in your local cable movies on demand section.
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