Last night hubby and I wandered up to the Landmark at Bethesda Row to see First Position, an inspiring documentary about six ballet dancers, ages 10-17, competing in the annual Youth America Grand Prix. YAGP is a ballet competition with a regional and a national tier, and believe it or not, I competed in it one million years ago. I have no pics or videos from that day, but I performed this quirky variation, placed in the top 12 regionally, and called it a day.
Anyhow, the movie (trailer here) makes YAGP out to be this big, scholarship/job offer stake out, when it’s really just a competition, but I guess the movie has to build up drama where it can. However the dancers it follows are absolutely stunning, and for their age, have moving and mature stories to accompany their talent. One dancer, 14-year-old Michaela DePrince, was adopted during Sierra Leone’s civil war. Sixteen-year-old Joan Sebastian Zamora, from Columbia, lives in NYC, dreaming of being the first Columbian dancer to train at the Royal Ballet School.
Their teachers are equally as engaging, but for completely different reasons. French, Russian, Columbian–they smoke and yell and hit and scratch–so is the ballet world! But it’s endearing. I really do need about one documentary a week to satisfy my non-fiction craving, and this set so well with me last night. Both Potters recommend it!