Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

‘First Position’ Is In First Position

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on May 28, 2012

Following six kids, 9-19, as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world, is moving, touching and fascinating. This is a documentary that has no surprises, except to say that how are some children so focused, so talented and so inspired to become professional ballet dancers. This question looms over the movie, as we watch boys and girls prepare unbelievable physical feats, with grace and poise which is so beyond their years. Then, they compete in what appears to be the Olympics for ballet dancers, except that for the older kids, it also means a literal ticket into a prestigious dance company. This payoff is life-changing in a way that reminds us that hard work, along with unwavering determination, along with good genetics, can, sometimes, maybe rarely, change one’s life, allowing one to live their dream. The odds are stacked against each individual, and each one knows that, but they still put themselves out there, with a hope and a prayer, that they just might be the one chosen for stardom. The kids and their families create awe in the audience. Parents may want this for their kids, but with ballet, there is no way that they can force their child to maintain that level of skill and focus. Of course, unconsciously, parents can demand their kids shine, and kids, with some genetic talent, can feel the pressure to succeed from their parents, but this movie gave compelling evidence that for these six children, their determination was mostly internal, as opposed to external. Again, with more understanding of these family dynamics, that analysis could change, but on the surface of things, it seemed like each one of these children wanted to succeed for their own sense of purpose in this world, and not for the sense of purpose driven by an external force. It was feeling this genuine desire to shine, at such young and tender years,  which made the movie so interesting,  The music and the dancing were nice too.

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