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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Documentaries: First Position

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:thumbsup::clapping: yes, indeed! And, even if one of these kids has a career as a dancer, that career is more likely than not to be quite short when compared with the rest of that person's life.

So, keeping an eye to developing the "whole person" is definitely prudent!



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I saw “First Position” today! It did feel sort of like a commercial for YAGP, but we enjoyed it. I watched it with my college-aged modern dancer daughter. She has danced her entire life, but never did any competition dance. Her comment was, “The movie makes it seem like everyone is a winner.”


She and I talked a long time afterwards about the different family dynamics portrayed. It was one of our favorite parts of the film. We discussed how important it is for a dancer to have a family that supports the dream. We also looked at that fine line parents must walk: provide encouragement and opportunities for a child to achieve his goals while ensuring that it is the child’s own passion that makes him continue to dance. (I think my young adult is beginning to appreciate how difficult the “dance” of parenting actually is!)


Overall, I think the film gives a fair portrayal of what life is like for these young dancers. There is a brief focus on food, feet, fatigue, and disappointment; without sensationalizing any of it. Also, much of the dancing is impressive.

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I also saw the film this week. At the showing I attended, one of the film's featured dancers was there, and she and her parents spoke for a few minutes before the movie. I admit that during the movie, I kept wondering how they were reacting to the audience's reactions. They had seen the premiere and also they saw it again at a local film festival, but this was the first time they had seen it with a "real" audience.


I thought that overall, the film did a better job of portraying this life than any other film/tv show/doc that I've seen. There were many aspects which I wish had been teased out a bit more in the movie - teacher/dancers relationships, etc, but I forgive the filmaker because there was so much more actual dancing than you usually seen in any mainstream movie.


The Washington Post had an article today about Rebecca, one of the featured dancers. It talks about her life post-movie, which I found surprising. She was the dancer in the movie that was the least three-dimensional and got the least amount of screen time I felt, but I was very curious what happened to her after.


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Thank you so much for the link. How wonderful that Rebecca is willing to share her journey after YAGP and after ballet with the public. While I'm not sure I want to give up a sunny May day watching the documentary, I might be interested in a sequel that shows what these dancers are doing in a few years. :happy:

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I had been looking forward to seeing this film but, unfortunately, as far as I'm aware, it has no planned release in my country (UK). I thought it would be interesting to get an insight into what YAGP is like, because over here I don't think people are particularly aware of it. The numbers involved in competing at YAGP are certainly an eye-opener, though,

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Thanks for sharing that article lemlemish. It's just keepin' it real as they say. I'm more than ever intrigued to see the movie. I think it will open a great deal of opportunity for dialogue with both my DDs.

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I saw the film with my DS, yesterday. Having been involved in YAGP, and being a little jaded over the politics (which don't need to be discussed here, as they are addressed in other boards) I was actually pleasantly surprised with the film! I went in expecting to like the kids, but not the organization. I left liking both. If I was a non-dancing parent, I think I would have left with the feeling that YAGP was the only ballet competition in the world, and participating was the only way to become a professional. That being said, I know better as a dancer's mom...and if I was a non-dancing mom, coming away with that opinion really wouldn't matter!


I thought that the movie was very well edited...especially when you consider how many 100's (1,000's?) of hours of film they must have shot to end up with what they ended up with! It was not overly dramatic, but really felt like a documentary of the process.

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I saw it yesterday with 12 year old DD. We thoroughly enjoyed it. I really loved to see the kids be kids particularly Aran Bell on his skateboard, and in his room with his toys. The film left my DD inspired, I think, not so much in terms of competing in YAGP, but about ballet overall.

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Ballet Mistress tdc

My husband (non- dancer) and I saw the film tonight at a screening with a large number of my Academy students. Many of them left inspired :clapping:

I really enjoyed the film. Our local Dance Council sponsored the event and made sure that the audience was aware that most professional dancers do not go the competitive route. I was very thankful for that.

Overall I was happy with the film and would see it again. I thought it did it's job:In this era of "Dance Moms" type shows it gave the non dancing viewing public a truer tast of the dance world.

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I haven't followed this entire thread, but last night noticed that First Position has a 10 minute "free" release on Comcast TV. But that also it is already available on On Demand under "Same Days as Theatres" for $5 or 6.99. If it is not in an area where you live, possibly you or a friend as Comcast as their cable supplier. Not sure how long it will be up, but worth a try.

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It is on Uverse OnDemand for $8.00. See HD movies.

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