Film review: First Position (U)
It's all tutu exciting as six young ballet dancers devote themselves to a gruelling year's preparation for the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix in New York.
Bess Kargman's documentary gets up close and personal with each subject, be it 16-year-old Joan from the lowly reaches of Colombia, 14-year-old Michaela, a war orphan from Sierra Leone, or 12-year-old Miko, a self-possessed ballerina driven to the limit by her tightly wound tiger mom.
Given the expense of training and the paucity of openings, the competition is a crucial day for these young hopefuls – this is their chance for a scholarship at an academy, a once-in-a-lifetime shot at making it.
What's cheering to see is how gracious and amiable these kids are; there's no sense of entitlement, just obsessive hard work and a wry acknowledgement of the ballet dancer's lot: "This is me cheerleading," says 17-year-old Rebecca, gazing at a school photo. "Another attempt at normalcy." It shouldn't matter whether they succeed or not, but Kargman's careful editing and pacing make it impossible not to care.
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
- 2 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 3 Andy Murray takes to Twitter to show off his Christmas jumper
- 4 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 5 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
Madonna Rebel Heart: Pharrell Williams collaboration and 13 more songs leaked
Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'