What position will you take?
The documentary First Position directed by Bess Kargman takes you to very different places around the world, but all summarizes to one sole value: ballet is far from what meets the eye. Throughout the entire film the viewer is taken to different dancers lives all around the world. Each dancer has one goal to make it to the final round of the Youth America Grand Prix(YAGP). This is a ballet competition in which the top dancers from around the world are evaluated and potentially receive scholarships or positions at top ballet companies. This consists of the dancers being judged on a ballet class as well as a ballet and contemporary solo that is performed for all of the judges on stage. This people in this film range from teachers to parents to siblings, however, there are a total of 6 dancers that this film follows specifically as they prepare and then compete. A typical performance for this competition can be seen here by Michaela DePrince who is one of the competitors in this documentary. Throughout the film the audience gains an understanding of this process and how these dancers make it or break it.
First Position was created in order to share the struggles dancers endure while trying to get their big break. They only have a few short minutes to display their technique in which they have worked on their whole entire lives. After completing a CAPP analysis it was concluded that First Position did what they intended and helped share the lives of these young students with the world as well as educated the audience on what a life of a dancer was like.
Documentaries are created for many different reasons. Most of the time it is to make a change of some sort in the area in which the film discusses. In First Position it is extremely clear that it is all centered around ballet and the ballerinas way of life. The main context in which this movie is being presented is to inform the audience and convince them that dancers lives are tougher than they appear.
First Position had a differing target audience from the majority of people who saw the film. Overall, the film tried to get everyone world wide to watch it not just dancers. This is displayed to the viewer from the way that they explain all of the scenarios. It is discussed in the documentary from the eyes of someone that does not really know anything about how dance works. Additionally, they compare dance to different sports on many occasions proving to the audience that ballet is extremely challenging just as all sports are. This enhances the idea that this film really wanted to educate the audience and proves that it is trying to appeal more to non-dancers in that sense. However, looking at the response that the movie got it is clear most dancers came to see the show.
The purpose of this film was to explain and inform the audience. This was a reflection of the world only seeing dancers in one way whether that is based on gender, race, size, talent, strength or commitment; people do not tend to envision dance how it actually takes place. Therefore, this film strove to educate on what the dance world is like and what dancers deal with on a daily basis. This education process was done with all three emotional appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos, and through these the message was clearly brought across to the audience.
This film brought ethos in to play many times. This is because credibility really helps to establish a film and bring in more people to watch it. Mainly this documentary uses famous dance companies to build its ethos. This comes in the form of having them do brief interviews and showing their love and insight on the art of ballet.
Additionally, pathos is extremely prevalent in this film. A majority of the time pathos is used to connect us emotionally with each of the six featured dancers. This is done so that we can really try and grasp what they go through and how hard it is for dancers to get into a company position. For example Michaela DePrince is from Sierra Leon and she had an extremely hard childhood. After hearing her story the audience has a deeper more sincere relationship with her and therefore will be more apt to learning what she deals with through her dancing.
Logic is used throughout this documentary to appeal to the factual thinkers in order to teach the audience. Throughout the entire film there are many times where there are sections of learning for the audience. This varies from how they put on their makeup, to dance shoes, and even to how they go about their daily lives as dancers. Overall, all of these facts help the audience to key in on very important areas of the film.
The point of view of this film was extremely creative in helping the audience to understand what was happening. The dancers as well as their families and teachers helped to really shape the documentary on their lives. This was done through interviews and voice overs of how they felt and what their lives consist of. Additionally, there were also judges and other top individuals giving their input on the process as well.
Overall, First Position did an amazing job of utilizing all aspects of CAPP. This contributed to high ratings, nominations, and great selling. Which position will you take? One to learn more about the dance world I hope!