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Publication: The Stranger
Author: Clement, Bethany Jean
Date published: May 23, 2012


A kids' ballet competition propels this documentary, and squirmy sequences abound: babyfaced dancers giving three-minute performances upon which their entire futures supposedly hang, a 13-year-old's excruciating injury, the children's grotesque stretching and already-mangled feet. There are nearly Black Swan-crazy parents and coaches; there are children claiming, in the face of every iota of evidence to the contrary, that they're not missing out on their childhoods. Featured kids include an adorable, incredibly talented 11-year-old towheaded boy; an orphan from Sierra Leone with a heartrending story; and a Colombian teenager with the sweetest heart and bulgingest leg muscles ever. While there's very little that's surprising about First Position, everything about it is riveting. (BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT)

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