First Position review

A documentary looking into the professional ballet competition circuit

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

If you thought Black Swan made ballet look grim, this festival-fave documentary offers an earthier but no less griping portrait of the profession’s crippling realities.

First-time director Bess Kargman combines the stories of six young hopefuls preparing for a prestigious ballet competition.

Despite the extremes to which they’re pushing their bodies, all six are charismatic and touchingly devoid of ego.

There’s a whiff of contrivance in how neatly the strands tie together, but it’s easily forgotten as Kargman weaves dreams and agonies with the visceral thrill of the dance.


Emma Didbin is a writer and journalist who has contributed to GamesRadar+, The New York Times, Elle, Esquire, The Hollywood Reporter, Vulture, and more. Emma can currently be found in Los Angeles where she is pursuing a career in TV writing. Emma has also penned two novels, and somehow finds the time to write scripts for Parcast – the Spotify-owned network that creates thrilling true crime and mystery podcasts.