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Ballet Dancers



Special event: Friday 11/13 at noon

Q&A with dance documentary filmmaker Bess Kargman

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Join Adam Spencer of the DanceScape lecture series for this special online event featuring Q&A with Bess Kargman, director of the DANCE documentary and Toronto Film Festival runner up film, FIRST POSITION. 

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Different backgrounds and social status with the dream of dancing in the ballet, and the sacrifices they have made to achieve their goal. The dancing is heavenly; I only wish there had been more of it.

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About the film and the filmmaker

First Position is a 2011 American documentary film. It follows six young dancers preparing for the Youth America Grand Prix in New York City, an annual competition for dancers ages 9–19 to earn a place at an elite ballet company or school. Directed by Bess Kargman, it features Michaela DePrince, Aran Bell, Gaya Bommer-Yemini, Miko Fogarty, Jules Fogarty, Joan Sebastian Zamora and Rebecca Houseknecht as they intensively train and prepare for what could be the turning point of their lives. 


Kargman was a first-time director who had studied dance herself. "I ended up quitting my job to make this film, my first film, and I thought maybe by choosing a topic that was quite dear to me and that I had lived for a number of years growing up—maybe I’d be able to do this story justice."[1] The film features renowned dancers and choreographers from all over the world including Nadine Bommer,[2] Denys Ganio, Élisabeth Platel, Raymond Lukens, and Youth America Grand Prix's founder Larissa Saveliev


Kargman also has a brand new series currently streaming on YouTube - "Defying Gravity: The Untold Story of Women's Gymnastics". A 6-part documentary series that tells the story of Women's gymnastics - the Events and Milestones. Icons and Hopefuls. Truiumphs and Heartbreaks - through the voices of its greatest champions. 


How to view the film

in advance of the November 13th Q&A

Watch it for free HERE - or through Amazon Prime.


Cost to participate: $15


What parents should know

Parents need to know that First Position is a winning dance documentary that will have you on your feet cheering and clapping for its young subjects, all of whom are vying for prestigious scholarships and contracts after years of hard work, practice, and dedication (not to mention painful injuries). Not everyone gets to win the big prizes, but given how committed and giving all of the featured dancers are, they're definitely all winners. First Position will make you believe that hard work really does pay off, which is a great lesson for kids of all ages. While even younger kids will find much here to enjoy and inspire, the subjects' laser focus on their goals will be more relatable for tweens and up.

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