First Position (2011)
February 8, 2015 4:15 PM - Subscribe

This documentary follows several young dancers as they prepare for an international ballet competition. Great dance and impressive tenacity from the kids, and the film gives a humane backstage view of all the hard work and other investment they and their families put in to get them to the world-class level.

NYT review

It was mostly filmed in 2009-10, and all but one of the featured dancers are still dancing today.
Where are they now? from April 2014
Their Facebook page has occasional updates on the dancers.
posted by LobsterMitten (3 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I watched this last night and was really struck by it.

I was especially glad that it avoids the temptation of nastiness -- e.g. showing the parents or coaches etc in a horrible light, or idiotic drama among the kids. Some of the reviews think it's too positive, but I thought it struck a good balance of showing negatives but not getting bogged down in the salacious dark stuff. It kind of gives the most positive view a reasonable and observant person could have about youth ballet, and it was really cool to see that.

Plus oh my goodness, Michaela kicking ass. She's apparently gone on to be a dancer with several companies including now the Dutch national company, and she's put out an autobiography and a kids' book version, done a bunch of tv interviews, etc.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:23 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh! I just watched this and I loved it so much! I burst into tears when Michaela rocked her audition despite a tendon injury (I think that's what it was). It was so great. I was also struck by all the casual symptoms of racism she experienced, like her mom having to color all her costumes brown because they don't come in any other color but, you know, peach. Not to mention all the shitty remarks about her body. GO MICHAELA.

I also loved Aron and his friend Gaya. Did they not speak the same language? It didn't seem like it and I was so charmed that they had this cute friendship and didn't speak each other's language.

I really, really loved this movie. (I love anything to do with ballet though.)
posted by Aquifer at 8:41 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

I loved this movie so much I had to watch it again this weekend.

I especially love that we get to see almost their whole performances at the finals. Those kids (yes! kids!) were phenomenal! Such amazing dancing.

I want to be a mom like Gaya's mom - the look on her face as she watched Gaya dance. Just pure love and happiness watching her daughter excel like that.

I think it *did* show some strife. With Miko's mom and her instructor Viktor. They kind of bicker a little bit just before Miko's performance, both obviously caring a great deal for her and not wanting to over-care.

And so impressed yet sad about Joan Sebastian. I mean, he was just a kid, too, and he was living thousands of miles away from his home and his family in NYC. The amount of dedication that he has as just a teenager is amazing.

The sacrifices and determination for the parents of those kids, too... that is amazing.
posted by jillithd at 11:47 AM on March 2, 2015

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