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A touching and moving film - overcoming adversity.,
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This review is from: First Position [DVD] (DVD)
This touching film is as moving for the human stories and relationships as for the quality of the dancing performed by the four girls and two boys,competing in the Youth America Grand Prix.Neither are we spared the heart-break of their mistakes and failures; their handling of tension, stress, disappointment, injury and prejudice;their poor,battered feet and the foot-stretching torture to produce that beautiful convex instep! However, we are more than uplifted by the sensitive interactions between pupils and teachers and the devotion and unfailing support of both parents.Skate-boarding comedian, Aran,11,full of joy and passion, has a military Dad based in Italy,where he trains. The father of Miko and Jules approves of the beneficial effects on the family life-style. Joan Sebastian,although adored and missed (he trains in N.Y.)is pushed by his parents, with Dad advising it's the only way to escape from the poor neighbourhood of Colombia where they live. The foster parents of Michaela rescued her as an orphan from the civil war in Sierra Leone (where her parents and teacher were killed)and brought her back to Philadelphia.They have devoted themselves to fulfilling her dream of becoming a 'delicate' black dancer, inspired by the image of a ballerina she saw on the cover of a dance magazine. Miko,12, and Jules,10, are driven by their ambitious,Japanese Mum (also a competent pianist) who pays for additional private tuition. Her influence has a very good effect on one child but more negative results on the other. She is clearly fulfilling a dream,as is the mother of Joan Sebastian,who describes herself as a 'frustrated ballerina'. Although it was 'weird' for a boy to be a ballet dancer in Colombia, she overcame her qualms. Joan Sebastian himself wants to emulate Carlos Acosta at the Royal Ballet but he also strives for the sake of his parents. We are so wrapped up in the fortunes of these young dancers that by the time we reach the awards ceremony at the end of the film you are desperate for them to receive a medal, scholarship or contract. This is an indication of how the clever crafting of this film has worked on you. Given that the Prix de Lausanne and the YAGP are so rarely televised, this revealing film is even more valuable.