First Position

First Position

First Position

Ballet documentary following six young dancers (aged nine to nineteen) over the course of a year as they face injury and personal sacrifice on their way to compete in the Youth America Grand Prix. The Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world and awards full scholarships to top ballet schools.

"Director Bess Kargman interviews the competitors, their families and teachers, and we learn of the many sacrifices made for the sake of ballet. The kids' love for dance helps them struggle through injured feet and near exhaustion, all while navigating the drama and changes that come with adolescence. Prepare to be moved and inspired by these gifted young dancers." (Toronto International Film Festival 2012)

2011Rating: G94 minsUSA
Documentary
Director:
Bess Kargman (feature debut)

Streaming (2 Providers)

First Position / Reviews

Flicks, Rebecca Barry Hill

Flicks, Rebecca Barry Hill

First Position is a documentary about ballet but it’s also a story of youth, ambition and the pressure to be the best. The focal point is the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix and for all those involved in the competition, particularly the older teens hoping to secure contracts at top ballet companies, the stakes are high.

Full review
Variety

Variety

Touching, enormously satisfying documentary.

Full review
Total Film

Total Film

If you thought Black Swan made ballet look grim, this festival-fave documentary offers an earthier but no less griping portrait of the profession's crippling realities.

Full review
Time Magazine

Time Magazine

Could brighten the most forlorn perspective on the state of the American dream.

Full review
The New York Times

The New York Times

An appealing, largely upbeat documentary.

Full review
The Guardian

The Guardian

It's humane, involving and inspirational.

Full review
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

These performers are so young, so serious, so full of dreams and so hard on themselves that it is difficult not to be moved by their striving.

Full review
Little White Lies

Little White Lies

Settles for heartwarming "follow your dreams" platitudes rather than following the cold realities of being a dancer.

Full review
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

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.

Full review
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

A touching look at ballet's battle-hardened youngsters.

Full review
A.V. Club

A.V. Club

The stakes of the final competition are heart-poundingly high, even for those who don't give a damn about tights and tutus.

Full review