In ‘First Position,’ Ballet Behind the Curtain

BY Julia Griffin  May 17, 2012 at 4:28 PM EST


In the ballet world, the Youth American Grand Prix can make or break a young dancer’s career. In “First Position,” director Bess Kargman follows seven aspiring ballet dancers between the ages of 10 and 17 as they prepare for and compete in the annual New York City event.

Kargman and her team were granted exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the 2010 YAGP, a competition that awards top dancers with scholarships and contracts to the world’s top ballet companies and training schools.

“For some of these young dancers, earning a scholarship or a job contract can be the difference between making it as a dancer or relinquishing a dream,” Kargman said.

As the film opened in theaters across the nation, Kargman spoke to us via phone about her documentary film debut, which breaks down ballet stereotypes and captures the physical and emotional challenges facing dancers who want to succeed. (Video above.)

Watch the official trailer for “First Position”: