Movie Review: First Position

1 Apr

I’m definitely not a movie fan; I seldom go to the cinema, unless my friends invite me to or there’s a movie that I particularly want to watch, which is a rare thing. Therefore it’s very uncommon that I decided to go and buy a ticket to watch this film without accompany at all. I’m used to watching ballet performances or musicals on my own, but it’s the first time I ever went to a cinema on my own, and I can ensure you, it’s totally worthy.

I saw the trailer of First Position probably half a year ago, and was waiting for the release of their DVD, because these kind of movies normally won’t be on air in Hong Kong. Surprisingly, I saw one of my old ballet friends saying on Facebook that it’s going to be included in the Hong Kong International Film Festival this year, so I decided to check it out. I couldn’t find anyone to watch it with me because of the weird showing time, but I decided to watch it on my own anyhow, because there hasn’t really been a movie that only features ballet for a long time.

Billy Elliot and Center Stage are my favourite dance movies, and First Position is definitely going to be on my list! This documentary follows 6 talented young dancers while they compete at the Youth America Grand Prix, showing how they struggle and work very hard to succeed, hoping to get into the finals, win the competition, a scholarship or a place in a ballet company, and also showing their love and passion for dance.

Unlike other dance documentaries, I think this documentary gives you a picture of the reality but not all on the “dark” side. I remember seeing some ballet documentaries showing the painful process of dancing, little dancers crying because of the pain and being scold by teachers. Well, I know this is all true but this documentary does a better job and makes a balance between the “bright” and the “dark” side in the dancing world. On the other hand, some dance-related movies seem too commercial, focusing more on the plot and love relationship, while this documentary is based on the dancers’ true stories and focusing on ballet and dancing itself.

This documentary is full of laughter and tears. Happy moments like the cute little Jules, who tries very hard to jump high but often fails and falls down, and how his teacher covers his eyes after seeing him like that. Touching moments like Joan returning home after more than a year in the States and how his family fully supports him. Moments of struggle like how Michaela overcomes her pain during the competition. Well, there’s just too many awesome and memorable scenes, hard to name them all.

If you are a ballet fan, I’m sure you will love this documentary. For those who don’t know much about ballet and dance, do watch it if you have a chance, you will start to understand why so many people love ballet and understand the hardship and effort dancers have put into dancing in order to stand on the stage.

One of my favourite dancers in the documentary: Miko Forgarty

I found some more recent videos of Miko dancing, definitely check out this young girl, she’s talented and amazing! (http://youtu.be/azQxyOORm8s )

Gaya (Second from the left) and Aran (Second from the right)

Gaya is also one of my favourite dancers, as I really like her expression on stage, very determined and expressive.

Official website: http://www.balletdocumentary.com/

P.S. Happy April’s Fool! xd

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