OK for kids 9+
Inspiring documentary about hardworking young dancers.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that First Position is a winning dance documentary that will have you on your feet cheering and clapping for its young subjects, all of whom are vying for prestigious scholarships and contracts after years of hard work, practice, and dedication (not to mention painful injuries). Not everyone gets to win the big prizes, but given how committed and giving all of the featured dancers are, they're definitely all winners. First Position will make you believe that hard work really does pay off, which is a great lesson for kids of all ages. While even younger kids will find much here to enjoy and inspire, the subjects' laser focus on their goals will be more relatable for tweens and up.
- Families can talk about the kids who are followed in First Position. Is all their hard work worth the trouble? What do they get from dancing?
- How does the movie depict competition? Does everyone approach competition in a positive manner? How do you cope with losing even when you try your best? How does losing teach you to be strong? And how might winning help you become more generous and sympathetic with other competitors?
- Parents, talk to your kids about the importance of hard work and how to tell the difference between a hobby and a passion/calling.
The good stuff
Messages: First Position's main message is about working hard to achieve your goal. And your passion for that goal matters, too; it should be your goal, not someone else's for you. Also, don't be too hard on yourself -- young people should be their own best motivators and supporters, with parents coming a close second.
Role models: The kids featured in this documentary are hardworking, dedicated, and single-minded in the pursuit of their dream. For the most part, their parents are well-meaning, too, though some moms and dads (and teachers, too) may place their own hopes and wishes onto their children.
What to watch for
Violence: No violence, but the physical toll that ballet exacts on dancers is in full display at one point -- including bloody toes, cuts and scratches, brutal bruises, and actual injuries.
Sex: Not an issue
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: One subject is shown with shopping bags from Victoria's Secret and the like. She's also shown shopping at Tiffany. Many dance companies are mentioned by name.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue
Fan Reviews provided by
Beware - it's an infomercial crafted by YAGP! by Russkaya
While this film is interesting in that it affords a rare inside view into the world of ballet competitions, it is quite misleading in several respects. Most importantly, there is no forewarning that this is really an 'infomercial' for Youth America Grand Prix enterprise and that the film's director and the YAGP owners were totally in cahoots from the beginning. Hence, for example, one of the featured competitors (the very promising Aran Bell of Italy-via-USA) is depicted as if he were competiting for the first time in the youngest division when, in fact, he not only competed the previous year (2009) but won the whole freakin' division (the same top prize that he 'surprisingly' wins in 2010, when the film was made). Phoney baloney...but still an interesting film to see. Just be sure to watch it with a grain of salt, knowing that a lot of it is 'scripted.'
An AMAZING documentary that shows what it really takes.... by ineeddancetolive
You do not have to like ballet to LOVE this film. It shows devotion, beauty, heart, character, tenacity--all the ups and downs that every aspiring dancer faces (no different than what the best sports documentaries show too). Ask anyone in the dance community, including those who don't dance competitively, and they will tell you its impossible to script something like this. The ballet world is so unpredictable, injuries can wipe out the best dancers in seconds, and judging artistry is largely subjective. This film is so clearly not just about winning, it's about the journey...and it doesn't hide the fact that ballet competitions are controversial--it shows both sides and allows the viewer to come to his/her own conclusions.
A BRILLIANT DOCUMENTARY OF BALLET DANCERS IN THE EMBRYONIC STAGES OF THEIR DEVELOPMENT! by Peneflix
An outstanding film, pivotal in addressing the magnetism of the classical world of ballet, is "The Red Shoes" made in 1948 and starring Moira Shearer and Anton Walbrook; why pursue an art form that cripples, deforms, eliminates childhood, loves; rewards: fleeting, ephemeral?
Bess Kargman's "First Position" answers the question as she delves into the the lives and psyches of seven children struggling to compete in the Youth America Grand Prix; five thousand world wide participants, pared down to three hundred; eventually only a handful will garnish trophies and scholarships...
"First Position" touches upon, clarifies the illusive, messianic power that sabotages and monopolizes those individuals who live only to dance and dance only to live!
for full review please visit peneflix.com