First Position

First Hit:  If you’re young and want to be a ballerina or if you are a dance enthusiast, watch this film.

All really great dancers pay a huge price for their craft.

The price is both physical, because of the pain their bodies’ go through while learning their craft, and the amount of time they must devote to their abilities. When Miko’s (one 12 year-old dancer's) dad said that she spends more time dancing the he does in his full time job – the point was made very clearly.

These kids go to school, or get home schooled and then spend hour upon hours, seven days a week, learning how to become better dancers. At one point the film shows you their feet wrapped in their beautiful slippers, then when the slippers come off you see the scars, open sores, and dead toenails on multiple dancers’ feet.

Aran is a Navy brat and their family lives apart and overseas so that Aran can continue his art by following his heart. He’s very young and he’s always wanted to be a dancer. His Israeli friend Gaya is amazing with her genuine gift of expression with her face. Watching the segments where these two are just hanging out, I could help but think they will spend their lives together either a deep life long friends or as a couple. As dancers they are both extraordinarily talented. 

Michaela comes from the Sudan, her biological parents were killed in front of her as were others, yet in dance, she feels freedom to express. She is all heart – beautiful heart. Rebecca has lived a good life, in contrast to Michaela, but her wish to dance is no less powerful. We see her make mistakes and come back, we see someone who despite having the body, look, and feel for this career, has to work as hard or harder than the others.

Then there is Miko who can only think of dance and she is very focused and wise, wiser than her mother. Miko's expression of her dances on stage are particularly beautiful. Joan is from Columbia and he misses his family. His parents continue to support his passion in the United States because at home, he has a grim future. All of these kids are amazing and it was a joy to watch them.

All the children and parents are to be commended to allow themselves to be seen as they are in all their humanness. Bess Kargman did a wonderful job of piecing this together and creating suspense and sharing the dedication these kids have to make it in the dance world.

Overall: This is a wonderful documentary about young people living their dreams.