First Position

If you’ve ever been curious about ballet competitions, you need to check out First Position. The new documentary follows a handful of super-talented ballet students as they train for and compete in Youth America Grand Prix. All of them make it to the finals in New York, and (spoiler alert) most place in the top 12.

 

The film excels at showing the high stakes, the dedication and the amazing talent that's in abundance at YAGP. However, I found that it painted a bit of an overly-rosy view, since the filmmakers only follow the most successful dancers, and the disappointments they do show are glossed over fairly quickly. I happened to be backstage with one of Pointe's photographers, Rachel Papo, during this particular competition, and I can tell you that we saw far more tears and dashed hopes than what's shown here. Nonetheless, First Position provides a fantastic insider’s view of how much sacrifice it takes to truly excel, and the ecstasy of those moments when these dancers realize that it’s all been worth it. Find out more at balletdocumentary.com