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Triumph and despair in the world of ballet

First PositionThis beautiful documentary will have you gripped as it depicts the triumph and despair moments experienced by six talented young ballerinas.

3pm Sunday at BUEI

I fully expected the film to feature bratty, annoying and diva-like children with pushy stage mothers.

I didn’t expect to care whether they achieved their dreams of careers as professional dancers or not. How wrong I was.

There might be a pushy stage mother or two featured, but each aspiring dancer has a unique and heartwarming story that really sucks you in.

The children hail from as far afield as Colombia and Sierra Leone. Each is training for the Youth America Grand Prix, a prestigious competition that awards full scholarships to the world’s top ballet schools.

Their stories speak not only of their love of dance but of their drive and determination, which has overcome poverty and war.

I won’t spoil the film by saying any more.

However, even someone who has no interest in ballet would be moved when watching it, especially as the dancers battle homesickness and injuries.

Filmmaker Bess Kargman has a love of ballet which shines through in her elegant and thoughtful documentary, which is broad enough to appeal to those who have no knowledge of the genre.

The camera work captures the grace of the dancing and the drama backstage without ever seeming to be intrusive.

The performances and costumes are beautiful to watch. Meanwhile, the physical and emotional pain that has to be endured on the path to “making it” as a professional dancer is really brought home.

It is joy to behold youngsters who are so talented, driven and hardworking in fighting for their dreams.

Despite my initial reservations about the film I was holding my breath, sitting on the edge of my seat and rooting for each and every one of them by the time it culminated in the high drama of the competition final.

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Published April 18, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated April 18, 2012 at 9:12 am)

Triumph and despair in the world of ballet

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