First Position
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Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world's most prestigious ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, where lifelong dreams are at stake. In the final round, with hundreds competing for only a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected. Bess Kargman's award-winning documentary, First Position, follows six young dancers as they prepare for a chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries, all… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Undeniably effective as drama, as we ponder the varying degrees of ambition and talent driving these young people to push their bodies beyond the limit in the hope of grasping a future in the spotlight."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"When it's over, you won't remember so much about who won and who lost. Instead, what remains is the expression on a young dancer's face, reflected in a mirror: showing the joy of being in love with what you do."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"The joy of watching lies in the purity of the dancer's passion."
‑ Rebecca Barry,
"Anyone with an interest in dance should enjoy this documentary ..."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
"A blandly feelgood documentary about aspiring young ballet dancers."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"It does a great job developing its characters through its visuals - these are superphysical kids - and honing in on family dynamics."
‑ Jennie Punter, Globe and Mail
"For someone (like me) who has never been to a ballet, the talent of these teens and tweens is a revelation."
‑ Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A superior example of the genre, it concentrates on six young dancers from around the world ..."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Settles for heartwarming "follow your dreams" platitudes rather than following the cold realities of being a dancer."
‑ David Jenkins, Little White Lies
"A griping documentary following several ballet hopefuls as they prepare for an international competition."
‑ Antonia Quirke, Financial Times
"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."
‑ Linda Barnard, Toronto Star
"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."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"Like the engaging hit documentary Spellbound, this dance competition film gets under the skin and holds us in its grip like a well-crafted thriller."
‑ Rich Cline,
"It's humane, involving and inspirational."
‑ Christopher Tookey, Daily Mail [UK]
"Impressively directed and superbly edited, this is an emotionally engaging documentary with likeable subjects, stunning dance sequences and a suspenseful climax."
‑ Matthew Turner, ViewLondon
More reviews for First Position on Rotten Tomatoes