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Follows the plight of real-life dancers as they struggle through auditions for the Broadway revival of "A Chorus Line". Also investigates the history of the show and the creative minds behind the original and current incarnations.
Adam Del Deo,
James D. Stern
First Position follows six talented young dancers (ages 9-19) from five continents as they prepare for a worldwide ballet competition that could transform their lives overnight. Written by
A nicely crafted documentary about six youngsters working extremely hard for the highly competitive Young American Grand Prix (YAGP) for ballet dancers aged 9-19. These focused kids are among 300 finalists chosen from 1,500 contestants from all over the world. Winners of the grand prix will receive prizes, elite dance company contracts or scholarships at top ballet schools. The film traces their hardworking daily training routine, setbacks and their hopes. We also catch a glimpse of their family life while these aspiring young men and women talk about their dreams and passion.
It is an excellent production which captures the drive and aspirations of these young people from various background and the care of their parents, whether they are mixed couple, foster parents, in the military or ordinary Americans. What we see is not only the kid's passion, but also how their parents bend backwards and revolve their lives around their children's talents and interest.
It goes so far that a company has to move and school has to give way to home schooling so that the kids can have more time to dance. So a two- hour each way commune is nothing. Equally admirable and impressive is the trust, confidence and pride of the parents, not to mention their invaluable support. Some of these parents are dancers or musicians but whatever their experience is, they have enormous trust/belief in their kids and wholeheartedly support their children.
However, there is a fine line between them and the helicopter or monster parents who impose on their kids in the name of "for the sake of their own good." I have heard that some kids in Hong Kong are forced to learn the piano since they were young and incidents are: once the kids pass all the grade exams they never touch the piano again.
But what we see in the movie is that all the six characters have developed a genuine love and interest for ballet from within. Despite their young age and development stage, in order to strive for excellence in ballet, they are willing to give up a big part of their personal life including separating from the family, going out with friends, eating anything they want, suffer and endure various injuries etc. Their parents are just behind them.
The coaches are interesting characters too or the director just chose the more lively coaches and to film. We can see that these coaches are also human they can be strict and mean but they are well-liked and respected - whether they are French or Colombian or Russian or American.
The editing and directing is excellent with witty and funny dialogues or facial expressions (and they are all real!) intersperse between intense and competitive scenes. It slowly set the stage for the nerve breaking YAGP and by then we are almost part of the family of the youngsters and really hope their efforts pay off.
Like their parents and coaches, I also held my breath as the kids performed in their 5 minute appearance on stage for the Grand Prix. Competition is tough, but we can see the kid's determination, maturity and intense focus. The endurance and passion is so strong that it would overshadow the physical pain! Success does not come from luck. We also see support, respect and recognition of their potentials pay a very important role in shaping these youngsters' lives.
We witness that when you are doing something you love, even the pain will be gone and you will go on. This resilience combined with their talent speak loud and clear why they are ahead of other dancers despite their huge prices to pay.
An excellent documentary for parents, students, teachers, coaches and anyone interested in ballet/music/sports and nurturing our next generation. Highly recommended.
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