IMDb > First Position (2011)
First Position
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First Position (2011) More at IMDbPro »

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First Position -- This family-friendly doc follows exceptionally talented young dancers from around the world as they vie for jobs and scholarships at a prestigious competition in New York.
First Position -- A documentary that follows six young dancers as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix.
First Position -- A documentary that follows six young dancers as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix.


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Release Date:
10 August 2012 (Taiwan) See more »
6 dancers, 5 minutes on stage, 1 chance to make it.
A documentary that follows six young dancers from around the world as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
6 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Ballet at its Best See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order)
Aran Bell ... Himself
Rebecca Houseknecht ... Herself
Joan Sebastian Zamora ... Himself
Miko Fogarty ... Herself
Jules Jarvis Fogarty ... Himself
Michaela Deprince ... Herself (as Michaela DePrince)
Gaya Bommer Yemini ... Herself
Michelle Bell ... Herself
Ryan Bell ... Himself
Elaine DePrince ... Herself
Charles DePrince ... Himself
Wendy Houseknecht ... Herself
David Houseknecht ... Himself
Satoko Fogarty ... Herself
Mat Fogarty ... Himself
Nadine Bommer ... Herself
Ziv Yemini ... Himself
Claudia Hurtado ... Herself
Guido Arturo Prieto ... Himself
Denys Ganio ... Himself
Bo Spassoff ... Himself
Stephanie Spassoff ... Herself
Viktor Kabaniaev ... Himself
Michelle Lees ... Herself
Larissa Saveliev ... Herself
Mia DePrince ... Herself
Derek Dunn ... Himself
Brian Dunn ... Himslf
Vicki Dunn ... Herself
Danielle Dunn ... Herself
Melanie Shee ... Herself
Chiu Shee ... Himself
Aleandra Bell ... Herself
Travis Halsey ... Himself
Dmitri Kulev ... Himself
Emily Entingh ... Herself
Hannah O'Neil ... Herself
Juliet Doherty ... Herself
Zhao Wan Ting ... Himself
Claudia Dean ... Herself
Miki Akuta ... Herself
Kazuko Sugihara ... Herself
Edo Wijen ... Himself
Sam Zalvidar ... Himself
Gabe Shayer ... Himself
Shelley King ... Herself
Alys Shee ... Herself
Evelyn Hart ... Herself
Victoria-Rose Viren ... Herself
John Viren ... Himself
Jenna Graves ... Herself
Svetlana Dvorkin ... Herself
Olga Kresin ... Herself
Mariaelena Ruiz ... Herself
Jeanetts Kakareka ... Herself
Brooks Miller ... Herself
Nathaniel King ... Himself
Nadal Safi ... Himself
Anastasia Torba ... Herself
Jacqueline Callahan ... Herself
Ka'imi Cambern ... Himself
Ashley Baszto ... Herself
Beckanne Sisk ... Herself
Esteban Hernandez ... Himself
Alejandro Prieto ... Himself
Flavio Salazar ... Himself
Jonathan Mendez ... Himself
Gailene Stock ... Herself
Franco de Vita ... Himself
Deborah Hess ... Herself
Elisabeth Platel ... Herself
Tadeusz Matacz ... Himself
Raymond Lukens ... Himself
Mikhail Tchoupakov ... Himself
Shelly Power ... Herself
Luca Masala ... Himself
Adam Skulte ... Himslf

Susan Jaffe ... Herself
Anna-Marie Holmes ... Herself
John Robert Gosnell ... Himself
Ron Nilson ... Himself
Kee-Juan Han ... Himself
Juan Miguel Fernandez Vera ... Himself
Arata Miyagawa ... Himself
Sergey Gordeev ... Himself
Rosaline Kassel ... Herself
Maddalena Di Giacomo ... Herself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Giuseppe Bausilio ... Himself

Directed by
Bess Kargman 
Produced by
Rose Caiola .... executive producer
Nick Higgins .... associate producer
Bess Kargman .... producer
Jennilyn Merten .... associate producer
Original Music by
Chris Hajian 
Cinematography by
Nick Higgins (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Kate Amend 
Bess Kargman 
Production Management
Hashem Selph .... production manager
Art Department
Tim D'Amico .... graphic artist
Nol Honig .... graphic artist
Hashem Selph .... graphic artist
Sound Department
Anthony D'Erasmo .... sound mixer
Abe Dolinger .... additional sound mixer
Tom Efinger .... additional sound recording staff (as Tom Effinger)
Eric Gitelson .... sound re-recording mixer
Lauri Kelleher .... additional sound mixer
Alicia Loving .... additional sound recording staff
Brian Miklas .... additional sound mixer
Desiree Ortiz .... additional sound mixer
David J. Schwartz .... additional sound mixer
Jeff Seelye .... additional sound recording staff
Steve Smith .... dolby engineer
Eric Thomas .... sound mixer
Michael Bogden .... sound effects editor (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Clement Alline .... additional camera (as Celement Alline)
Scott Beardslee .... additional camera assistant
Miochelle Bell .... additional camera
Colin Solal Cardo .... additional camera
Gary Clarke .... additional camera operator: Seattle
Christian Datum .... additional camera
Tobias Datum .... additional camera (as Tobi Datum)
Bryan Donnell .... additional camera operator
Vicente Franco .... additional camera
Michael Goldberg .... additional camera
Nick Higgins .... still photographer
Bess Kargman .... additional camera
Bess Kargman .... still photographer
Daniel J. Lyons .... additional camera (as Dan Lyons)
Mike Schmiedeler .... additional camera
Andy Schocken .... additional camera
Yaniv Schulman .... still photographer
Don Starnes .... additional camera
Margaret Teich .... still photographer
Zvonimir Vidusin .... additional camera
Andrew Watson .... additional camera
Alan Weeks .... additional camera
Joshua Z. Weinstein .... additional camera (as Joshua Weinstein)
Editorial Department
Yasmin Assemi .... editing assistant
Sam Daley .... colorist
Michael X. Flores .... assistant editor
Brad Fuller .... consulting editor
Barbara Jean Kearney .... digital intermediate account executive: Technicolor New York
Mary Manhardt .... consulting editor
Carmelita Naval .... editing assistant
Chris Seward .... consulting editor (as Christopher Seward)
Zachary Stuart-Pontier .... consulting editor (as Zac Stuart-Pontier)
Lindsay Utz .... consulting editor
Walter Wurzburger .... digital intermediate account executive: Technicolor New York
Holly Buechel .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Michelle Collins .... music researcher
Chris Hajian .... arranger: original music
Chris Hajian .... music producer: original music
Chris Hajian .... musician: piano and keyboards
Eileen O'Neill .... music clearance
Bernd Schoenhart .... musician: acoustic and electric guitars
Jessica Weiss .... music editor
Jake Monaco .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Other crew
Paul Alexiou .... transcriber
Yasmin Assemi .... transcriber
Kristine Beilke .... transcriber
Naor Ben-Yehoyada .... translator: Hebrew
Megan Billman .... production assistant and intern
Carol Boles .... transcriber
Nadine Bommer .... choreographer
Stanley Charloff .... accountant: Charlestan Financial Services
Stephan Dominique .... production assistant and intern
Servy Gallardo .... choreographer
Meredith Gunning .... production assistant and intern
Kathleen Ham .... transcriber
Lauren Heirigs .... production assistant and intern
Viktor Kabaniaev .... choreographer
Tara Kyle .... production assistant and intern
Kelly Leisman .... production assistant and intern
Bonnie B. Liu .... transcriber
Zarrin Maani .... translator: Chinese
Sharon Marcus .... translator: Hebrew
John Matarese .... accountant: Ercolini & Company
Laura Mazzeo .... transcriber
Mary Molina .... translator: Spanish
Leilani Montes .... production assistant and intern
Erinn O'Dear .... transcriber
Midori Okada .... translator: Japanese
Matt Orlando .... translator: French
Marius Petipa .... choreographer
Roland Petit .... choreographer
Kate Ransome Wilcox .... transcriber (as Kate Wilcox)
Azriel Relph .... transcriber
Marc H. Simon .... legal services: Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard (as Marc Simon)
Michelle Smith .... choreographer
Walter Smith-Randolph .... transcriber
Erin Tolman .... transcriber
Michael Tucci .... accountant: Ercolini & Company
Peter Wood .... translator: French
Charles Braverman .... thanks (as Chuck Braverman)
Henry Joost .... thanks
Sophie Kargman .... special thanks
Amanda Micheli .... thanks
Danielle Renfrew .... thanks
Alex Reznik .... thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
95 min
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital | Dolby Digital (Mastered in Logic and Avid)
Filming Locations:


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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
Ballet at its Best, 1 June 2012
Author: jdesando from United States

First Position takes a front row in my line up of competition documentaries. It's exceptional because it doesn't overdo its reverence for ballet, nor does it play on a natural sympathy for young competitors from 9 through 19 years old. It would be easy to fawn over youngsters who have only two and a half minutes to persuade judges that they are the best among hundreds of ambitious artists.

It keeps the tension of the race to the finals of the Youth America Grand Prix while it invests just the right amount of time with six selected dancers, some of whom fortuitously go to the finals and win, if not the gold , then full scholarships to dance academies, not a bad substitute at all.

The camera follows, as is tradition, the endless practices with the demanding coaches, but this time both principals and teachers seem to enjoy the process as much as the awards. There's respectful, low key camaraderie among all the competitors, coaches, and parents that is unusual for these contests and documentaries about them.

The range of contestants is the believable, not hyped part I liked so much. While cheerful ten year old Jules Fogarty clearly isn't into dance or the competition, sixteen-year old Joan Sebastian Zamora will earn a top spot at the Grand Prix finals in New York because he cares just enough. Such is the way ambition should work out in the best of all possible worlds.

Best of all the dancers, for me, is 11 year old Aran Bell, whose ambition is matched by his awesome talent with a litheness only a dancer years older could have. Michaela, originally from Sierra Leone, is the most surprising talent, given the horrors she has seen and the physical challenges she must overcome.

Director Bess Kargman, following six contestants for over a year, does simple magic with director of photography Nick Higgins, sometimes forsaking the competition footage for the more intimately personal, with arguably limited results when the winners are announced as we want to agree with the decisions. More time on stage might have enlisted our cooperation.

A case could be made for the superiority of the ballroom dance Mad Hot Ballroom, poetry team Louder Than a Bomb, horse racing's First Saturday in May, or spelling bee Spellbound because they concentrate on the intensity of the actual competition and open up criticism of the contest itself. No such negativity appears here, a weakness for those who would like the reality of disappointment and hurt to extend beyond Michaela's sore foot.

But for me, it's nice to be relaxed as we hope these young competitors still are.

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