First Position

It’s funny how sometimes things can be a part of your life for so long, and then all of a sudden they’re not. That’s how it is with me and dancing. I started dancing when I was 3 and was pretty serious about it until late in high school. What started out as a one class a week thing as a toddler quickly became a 3 to 4 class a week thing, plus weekend rehearsals, as a teenager. I did everything — tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, pointe. And though dance took up a significant portion of my life and my time, it was nothing like the kids who are featured in the documentary First Position.

Have you heard about this film? It’s a must see, especially if, like me, you grew up doing ballet. The film centers around 7 kids who are all preparing to compete in the Youth America Grand Prix, an annual ballet competition that ends with awards, scholarships, and even contracts to dance at the world’s top ballet schools. The work these kids put in to have a career as a dancer (and it’s a short career at that) is astounding. It also made me realize I need to stretch, like, a lot more often. And that I miss dancing. Here’s the trailer for the movie (it was on OnDemand here in SF, so if you have digital cable, see if you can order it!):


Did any of you grow up dancing? Isn’t it strange when you spend your childhood so devoted to something, then one day it’s over?

{Image Credits: Bex Singleton for Ballet News UK; Emuu!!! Flickr; J.Crew Tumblr; San Francisco Ballet School, found via here; J.Crew Tumblr}


Leave a Comment


  1. 5.31.12
    Ana said:

    Just from watching the trailer, I’m so impressed by what these kids can do and their level of dedication…definitely inspirational! I need to watch this movie!

    When I was little, my parents took me to one ballet class, but after a bit the teacher concluded that I was too little (that’s because I was too shy and only reluctantly did what she was telling me to do :P) and should come back the following year …which unfortunately I didn’t (and sometimes wish I had).

    Wishing you a great day ahead!

  2. 5.31.12

    i did not grow up dancing, but i always wish i had. i’m coming back as a hip hop dancer in my next life, after all…

  3. 5.31.12

    So funny, I feel the same way about this. Dance was a HUGE part of my life. By the time I was in high school I was taking and teaching classes six days a week. And while I minored in dance in college, my involvement in it drastically changed. I still love it and what it meant to me, but it is funny how it’s not part of my daily life anymore. This film looks fantastic!

  4. 5.31.12

    Figure skating used to be a big part of my life- I never competed but spent every weekend at the rink, started working there at 15, & then started teaching/coaching. When I went to college poof, it suddenly was not a part of my life at all. Its funny how the smell of an ice rink immediately brings me back.

    While I quit ballet in 3rd grade, I do enjoy watching it & can’t wait to see this documentary!

  5. 5.31.12

    I’ve heard amazing things about this film and dance is so fascinating to me, I definitely need to see it.

  6. 5.31.12
    Alyssa said:

    I’m the same as you–after dancing for almost 13 years, I still miss it every day. This film looks incredible!

  7. 5.31.12

    I’m that way with music — I played piano and flute growing up. I don’t own a piano, and I’ve just never felt comfortable with the idea of playing flute in an apartment. Plus, playing flute isn’t as much fun by yourself. Now that I’ve moved, I’m looking for a community band to play in. And one day I will own a piano.

  8. 5.31.12
    Victoria said:

    I grew up as a dancer as well! I loved it but as soon as I got to high school and I knew I didn’t want to do it for a career I stopped. But I miss it so much. I really want to watch this movie!

  9. 5.31.12
    Giulia said:

    I grew up dancing as well and missed it so much I went back in my 20s. It was fun taking adult ballet classes and I did it until I had kids. My mom picked it up again in her 40s, she is now 60 and still dances 3 times a week. Never too late to go back.

  10. 5.31.12

    I never stuck with one sport as a kid, but my sister did. She was a competitive softball player with dreams of the 2012 Olympics for years as a kid… and then one day the news came, and they took softball out of the Olympics, beginning with the very first ones she’d be old enough to qualify for. It was a pretty devastating thing as a sister to watch her dreams fall apart due to something completely out of her control, and although it didn’t happen to me directly it was almost worse to see my little sis feel so upset! A lot of hard work and determination go into kids’ dedication to sports like that, it’s definitely inspiring.

    And now my sister’s used her talents to coach other girls in their softball dreams, which is also a great way to use her talents! Mad props to all you sporty kids out there :)

  11. 5.31.12
    Becca said:

    I know I took ballet at one point, but only because there is a photo of me in a green and pink costume. I think I was more into the costumes than any of the dancing haha. I always admired people who did do ballet and dance though. Looks like an interesting film!

  12. 5.31.12
    Jess said:

    I miss ballet more frequently than I thought I would! That looks like a really good documentary, will definitely have to check it out!

  13. 5.31.12

    I completely relate. I stopped dancing when I graduated high school and I still miss it so much. Also, it’s ridiculous how quickly I lost my flexibility. I’m excited to see this movie.

  14. 5.31.12
    Alexis said:

    This post makes me smile. I grew up dancing from age three until my junior/senior year of high school, when I quit because I felt like I was missing so much. I did tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, hip hop ~ everything. I knew I wasn’t going to pursue it professionally but I wish I would have stuck with it for fun, exercise and for all of the reasons it made me happy. Thanks for sharing!

  15. 5.31.12

    Oh, how I can relate. After 14 years of ballet, summers at Virginia School of the Arts and training in the pre-professional division of Ballet Austin, I chose college over the potential to join the company. I try not to think about how big of a decision that was and what life might be like if I had chosen differently. But ballet will always be in my bones!

  16. 5.31.12
    Martha said:

    Stopped dancing (mostly) after high school as well but I love knowing I can go take a class every once and awhile and enjoy movies like this and performances in a different way.

  17. 6.1.12
    Jessica said:

    Love this post – it hits so close to home. I started dancing (jazz, lyrical, tap, but mostly ballet and eventually pointe) at a very young age, and it quickly became my defining characteristic. Around Junior year, when I was beginning to think about college/the next step, my parents asked me if I wanted to get serious about dancing, and it was then that I realized dancing would never be my life… at the time it was crushing, and it took me a while to figure out who I was without dance. Now, a dancer will always be something that I “was”, and I will love it forever, but I have grown to find other sides of myself as well.

  18. 6.1.12
    taylor said:

    (sorry for blowing up your e-mail…. finally catching up on blogging) this movie looks incredible – I hope it’s onDemand so I can rent it tomorrow night. Ballet has always amazed me, one of my best friends in high school was a dancer and still is.

  19. 6.2.12
    sarah said:

    I saw this posted yesterday, and watched it last night. I would highly recommend it, and am so glad that you did!

  20. 6.2.12

    per your recommendation, i rented this last night and LOVED it. i also danced through high school, and i dug my old pointe shoes out of the back of the closet and tried them on after watching. i didn’t realize how much i miss dancing!

  21. 6.3.12
    Emily said:

    I never let myself stop dancing because I knew if I took any time off I would never have the courage to start back up again! After college I immediately joined a new amateur company and even though I never reached my childhood dreams of being a real ballerina I’m still pretty ok with at least getting to do it a little :) Dying to see the movie!

  22. 6.4.12
    Rachel said:

    I had been thinking about renting this one — but went for it after reading your post. ;) I only dreamed of being a dancer, but each of their individual courage and tenacity was so inspiring! Loved it!!

  23. 6.4.12

    I cannot wait to see this movie. Similar to you, I danced from the age of 3 until I was 18 years old. it was such a big part of my life for so long but now it feels so far away. Thanks for posting this, I am going to rent this movie this weekend!

  24. 6.7.12
    Christina said:

    I danced, but very informally. My high school had a dance class that I took for a couple years and then in college I joined a Dance Guild, which was stupidly fun. The thing that used to be such a big part of my life that stopped suddenly was actually martial arts. I trained in Tang Soo Do for three years and was mere months away from earning a black belt when I decided to quit. I was a senior in high school and I guess I just lost interest. Quite sad, really. I think people literally do not believe me when I tell them I was nearly a black belt. Certainly sounds made up! Haha.

  25. 6.7.12
    Natalie said:

    I didn’t know you were a dancer! I started figure skating when I was about 9 and stopped just a few years ago. I started taking dance to help my skating but then in college, they kind of flip flopped and dance became my main focus while skating was just a once in awhile thing. The last time I danced was when I graduated college last year. I miss them both so much. Watching So You Think You Can Dance makes me miss it even more. I’m excited to check out this movie! Have you heard of the series called Breaking Pointe on the CW? I haven’t watched it yet but it looks good!