First Position (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

First Position2012

First Position (2012)



Critic Consensus: An upbeat and visually dramatic documentary of children's ballet, First Position displays the potential of the human spirit when fostered at a young age.

First Position Photos

Movie Info

Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world's most prestigious ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, where lifelong dreams are at stake. In the final round, with hundreds competing for only a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected. Bess Kargman's award-winning documentary, First Position, follows six young dancers as they prepare for a chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries, all while navigating the drama of adolescence. A showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, First Position paints a thrilling and moving portrait of the most gifted young ballet stars of tomorrow. -- (C) IFC

Watch it now


News & Interviews for First Position

Critic Reviews for First Position

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (29)

Undeniably effective as drama, as we ponder the varying degrees of ambition and talent driving these young people to push their bodies beyond the limit in the hope of grasping a future in the spotlight.

April 10, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

It does a great job developing its characters through its visuals - these are superphysical kids - and honing in on family dynamics.

July 19, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

If you have a yearning to feel awkward, inadequate and lazy, watching the whirling teenage (and preteen) talents in director Bess Kargman's First Position will do the trick.

July 19, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

When it's over, you won't remember so much about who won and who lost. Instead, what remains is the expression on a young dancer's face, reflected in a mirror: showing the joy of being in love with what you do.

May 24, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4

For someone (like me) who has never been to a ballet, the talent of these teens and tweens is a revelation.

May 18, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

A number of the performances are plain stunning - Aran and Joan, in particular, seem born to move - and in many ways watching the movie is like watching a sporting event; there are winners and losers and favorites to cheer on.

May 17, 2012 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for First Position

Even though it's predictable, First Position is an insightful film into the lives of aspiring ballet dancers. Upbeat, funny, involving, and precise, First Position is a window into the competitive world of the world class ballet. Getting to know all the dancers is a lot of fun and we go through their journey with them, we understand their pain, their trials and tribulations, and in the end, we can't help but clap and cheer for them. A great time at the theatre, or a great window about getting into the professional world of ballet dancing.

Raymond Wieser
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer


Six kids (9-19) whose lives are completely devoted to dance compete in a New York City contest with the best dancers from across the globe, with scholarships and professional careers depending on one performance. Rah-rah inspirational stuff aimed at dance moms; it only shows its subjects from their most forgiving angles. It might have had more impact if it focused entirely on the most interesting contestant (an adopted war orphan from Sierra Leone).

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

First Position Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features