Frequently Asked Questions

How can I watch FIRST POSITION?
As is the case with all independent documentaries, FIRST POSITION has many different distributors depending on the country (each distributor controls the film’s release dates and viewing platforms). If you live within the U.S. click here.  If you’d like to download and own a digital copy of the film no matter where you live click here. If you’d like to own and watch 80-minutes of DVD extras click here.


Love the music in the film! Who composed it?
The film’s original score is composed (with love) by Chris Hajian. The soundtrack is now available at our online store.

If you live abroad and would like to purchase a digital version of the soundtrack (with a private download link) you can pay for it via paypal (The cost is $9.00 (US), send to firstpositionfilms@gmail.com and you will receive an email confirmation).


Does the DVD have bonus features?
DEFINITELY. 80 minutes-worth. You can buy it via all the major DVD retailers and mainstream retail websites.


How has the film been received by the press and by fans?
First Position premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, 2011 and received rave reviews. On the film festival circuit it won Audience Awards at The Dallas International Film Festival, The Portland International Film Festival and DOC NYC. At the San Francisco Doc Fest FIRST POSITION won the Jury Prize. It was also nominated for a 2012 Fred and Adele Astaire Award. To-date the film has screened in over 40 film festivals around the world. For a full list of past festivals click here.


Where was the film shot and how long did it take?
The young dancers in the film live around the globe. The crew traveled to such countries as Italy, Japan, France, the UK, Colombia, Canada and and various cities in the United States. We filmed for nearly a year.
What languages are spoken in the film?
The film is primarily in English but there are a few minutes where Spanish, French and Hebrew are spoken (with subtitles, of course).


How were the dancers chosen?
The young dancers in the film were chosen just as much for their unique personal stories as their determination and talent. The director wanted to show a diverse range of subjects, both in terms of race, gender, socio-economic status and career goals. The film also set out to defy many of the stereotypes whispered about the ballet world that simply aren’t true.


How many central dancers are in the film? Six or Seven?
Technically you could say there are 6.5 central dancers featured in the film. The movie takes you home with six of the dancers (Aran, Miko and Jules, Michaela, Joan Sebastian and Rebecca), so they are described as the central characters. But mid-way through the film Aran develops a wonderful friendship with Gaya, an Israeli competitor, and she begins to play a larger role in the story even if audiences never go home with her like the others. There are other voices in the story as well, whether it’s a mother explaining how expensive tutus are, a father revealing that he never expected his son to become a dancer, but that he couldn’t be prouder, or a dancer discussing injuries (Alys Shee, Evelyn Hart, Derrick Dunn and Jenna Graves).


How long did it take to edit?
The film took nearly a year to edit. Crafting hundreds of hours of footage into a 94 minute movie takes a long time!


What age range is the film suitable for?
Ages 4 to 104.


What inspired the director to make this film?
The director of First Position, Bess Kargman, danced her entire childhood. Subsequently she went on to play college ice hockey and focus on journalism and film, but her love of ballet never waned. For her feature film debut, Kargman set out to make a documentary she always wished had existed. 


Are ballet competitions controversial?
Indeed they are–and rightfully so. Is art something you can really judge? Is it healthy for kids to be subjected to competition pressure? Ultimately ballet competitions are not for everyone (including FIRST POSITION’s director Bess Kargman, who danced for a majority of her childhood but did not enter competitions). Many young dancers, however, are given so few opportunities to perform as soloists in front of a large audience–i.e. taste their dream–that entering a competition gives them the chance to feel what it’s like to dance professionally (under the spotlight, in costume, demonstrating artistry after months of rehearsal). Moreover, not all competitions are alike. Some place an emphasis on winning trophies. Others place an emphasis on scholarships and job contracts–which can be life-changing for dancers looking for new opportunities and the chance to be seen. But you don’t have to compete to make it as a professional dancer, and you should only compete if you find the experience to be a positive one.


Who took the photographs of the dancers on your website?
The photographs on this website were taken by Yaniv Schulman, Margaret Teich, Nick Higgins and Bess Kargman.