It Starts With First Position


AT_FirstPosition_MAIN“Not since Matthew Diamond’s splendid documentary on Paul Taylor, Dancemaker (1998), has a film honored the essence of Terpsichore, the muse of dance, so well as does First Position.” -Culture Catch

I recently had the pleasure of watching a movie that I’ve have had my eye on for years, but never got to actually sit down and enjoy. It’s called First Position, and it’s beautiful. One of the many things that bring dancers together is the love of a great dance movie. This is a documentary, so it’s different than the big dance blockbusters we are all used to, but it is lovely, inspirational, and I highly recommend it.

The movie is based around the Youth American Grand Prix. YAGP is the world’s largest ballet competition and is held in New York City. First position follows six amazingly talented dancers from all walks of life to the YAGP competition, and we get to see, in real time, if they succeed at their ultimate goal of attaining one of the elite scholarships or contracts that YAGP awards.

In the film each dancer shares his or her story. Miko, Michaela, Rebecca, Gaya, Aran and Joan are all extremely different people with different backgrounds, but share the same overwhelming passion for ballet. The film also features a younger Juliet Doherty who is not only a Dance Life contributor, but a recent gold medalist at the 2014 YAGP finals! (Check out some of her style picks here.) As an audience you observe the intensity that each and every dancer puts into rehearsal, their various rehearsal styles, and also some casual and funny interactions with family and friends.

Finally it’s show time and the film takes the viewer through the entire YAGP experience, all the way through the awards ceremony. (Sorry, no spoilers.) First Position is available for viewing on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, HBO Latin America and BRAVO TV. It’s a feel good movie that will bring a smile to your face, a tear to your eye, and probably motivate a trip to the barre!

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