The Dallas Movie Screening Group

This is the homepage of the Dallas Movie Screening Group. To join our mailing list you must sign up at our group page on Yahoo. You will then be connected to receive notices on how to find passes to the local screenings in the DFW area. It's up to you to pickup or sign up for passes. You can also barter, trade or just giveaway passes you don't want, need or share with other members of the group. Please read the instructions on the Yahoo page very carefully before posting. This group is closely moderated so that your mail box is not full of spam or other unnecessary mail. We appreciate everyone's consideration and cooperation.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

First Position





The Youth American Grand Prix is the premiere event for young ballet dancers to compete for scholarships and jobs with the most prestigious schools and ballet companies. The cream of the crop from all the small dance schools around the world gather each year to perform. Bess Kargman a recent journalism graduate had run into the competition one afternoon on her lunch break and realized that she wanted to make a documentary about this world. Another reason was to dispel the stereotype that dancers are gay, anorexic, are all white and have stage mothers. Kargman's first feature gives the viewer much more than just kids competing. It lets us in the world of dance and intimately in the lives of it's dancers.

Aran Bell at 12 is what would seem a typical tween. He rides bikes, skateboards, plays sports when he's not practicing several hours a day. He's bright, active and most of all like all the dancers totally focused. Even the intense pain the dancers have to endure to twist their bodies into form, Aran endures knowing the end result is worth it. We are introduced to his friend Gaya from Israel who he met at a competition and there's this budding love between them. Michaela , 14, is a refugee from a war torn country in Africa who was adopted into a family in the US. She suffers from the skin condition Vitaligo that leaves her skin color blotchy. She asked her mom if they could see it from the audience when she danced and was relieved when her mom said she couldn't. Young women of color is not a usual sight in the world of ballet. Michaela wants to prove that otherwise. Her story also shows that dance is just about as injury prone as playing sports. Right before the competition she sustains a pain that threatens her performance. Sixteen year old Joan Sebastian comes from Columbia and is living in the US on his own carrying the hope of a future he could not find at home. Something that he could not do in his small town. There is also Miko, a tiny wafer thin 12 year old, whose father 's job moved to California just so she could work with a specific teacher. Her little 10 year old brother Jules also dances but doesn't have the dedication of gifts of his sister. High school senior Rebecca looks like the typical blond ballerina princess. Her perfect visage is what people normally expect in their dance images.

Ranging in ages from 9 - 19, the dancers despite their lives of discipline and dedication to their art are blessed with parents that allow them to have as close to normal of a life as possible. The expenses of supporting their offspring in dance is as Rebecca's father says would have covered her four year college education. Toe shoes alone go for $80 a pair and they wear out quickly. The costumes that they commission can range from $1500 - $2500. There is also the competition fees, as well the travel, classes with well known teachers and studio time. You don't see these young women moonlighting like in Flashdance.

Although it's not necessary for young dancers enter this contest to succeed it does give them invaluable experience. The Grand Prix semi finals are held in sixteen cities all over the world. At lease 5000 dancers compete to be one of the 200 – 300 chosen to go New York for the finals. They are divided up into age groups, with the younger dancers receive medals and trophies. The older dancers hope to win scholarships to elite schools or positions with ballet companies. The judges look for body – long legs, small head and proportioned, training, personality and passion. The film definitely shows these young people not only have a gift, but the artistic drive that makes them stand out over their peers. And you will be cheering for them.
(Review by reesa)



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