Whether you're training in an elite academy, a wealthy suburban conservatory or a studio in the middle of Rio de Janiero's dirt poor favelas, the path to becoming a professional dancer is never easy.
A new ballet documentary, Only When I Dance, presented by Film Movement, follows Isobela and Irlan, two talented teenage ballet dancers from Rio as they sacrifice everything to make it in the ballet world. Much of the drama, such as the pain of injury, being told to lose weight, giving up any semblence of "normal teenage life" and the despair of rejection, is something any ballet dancer can relate to. But for these two students, the stakes are even higher, as joining a company is their only opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their families.
The camera follows them to the Prix de Lausanne and YAGP, capturing the anxiety, the giddiness and the anguish of competitions. The story of the exceptionally talented Irlan contrasts sharply with the story of Isobela, who's very good, but just doesn't have that "wow" factor. There's great backstage and performance footage that shows what goes on behind the scenes and carries you right along on their emotional journey.
Only When I Dance will be released in New York on July 2, with a limited national theatrical release to follow. It is in Portugese, with English subtitles, and runs 78 minutes. See http://onlywhenidancemovie.blogspot.com/ or www.filmmovement.com/filmcatalog/index.asp?MerchandiseID=227