First Position Reviews
Each of [the] six young subjects vying for the Youth America Grand Prix (and the priceless award of a full scholarship to a top ballet school) is a wonder of self-imposed discipline in service to art.
Beneath the jetes and bleeding feet, First Position is about toughness of mind as much as visions of beauty. In one case it's about a transformation so profound as to be unfathomable.
The film shows the grueling work it takes for young dancers like Zamora to look effortless on stage, and First Position shows teachers who range from supportive to borderline abusive.
It's in the quick audience-reaction shots of the young dancers' exultant parents and cringing private instructors that the movie finds its most nakedly human moments.
A number of the performances are plain stunning - Aran and Joan, in particular, seem born to move - and in many ways watching the movie is like watching a sporting event; there are winners and losers and favorites to cheer on.
Never putting a foot wrong, tyro helmer Bess Kargman's touching, enormously satisfying docu First Position follows six gifted ballet students from disparate social, regional, economic and ethnic backgrounds as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix
If you have a yearning to feel awkward, inadequate and lazy, watching the whirling teenage (and preteen) talents in director Bess Kargman's First Position will do the trick.
First Position overcomes its predictable elements thanks to the inherent visual drama of watching children strain their bodies to the limit in obsessive pursuit of their goals.
At least half of these young dynamos and their families, all vying for coveted scholarships and spots in ballet companies, could brighten the most forlorn perspective on the state of the American dream.