Sunday, July 13, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 99

First Position

That red envelope showed up in my mailbox again last week, and brought this treasure.
Released in 2011, it's a documentary that highlights six American or American-trained kids, aged 10 to 17, as they compete in the Youth America Grand Prix, a very prestigious ballet competition.

This is Rebecca, one of the two oldest. Called "Barbie" by her friends at school, I was impressed by how down-to-earth and genuine this 17-year-old was -- and of course, incredibly hard-working and talented. She does some stretching while talking about herself in her home that could bring the viewer to tears.
Fourteen-year-old Mikaela had an incredibly poignant story, as she was born in war-torn Sierra Leone, and adopted along with another child, by American parents. She lived through hell as a child, having seen her parents and many others, murdered in cold blood, and it's truly inspiring to see the young woman she's become.
Joan (pronounced Joe-On) Sebastian is Colombian, and trains in the U.S. His love for his family back in Colombia is incredibly touching, and at just 16, he has already really sacrificed to follow his dreams.
Aran is 11, and lives and trains in Italy, as his dad is in the U.S. Navy, and is stationed there. While all of the kids were passionate about ballet, his passion stood out to me the most. It's as though it's part of his very being. He loves it that much.
When first introduced, he shares some of the gadgets he uses at home to stretch. Um...ouch.
Miko is 12 and is also incredibly dedicated to ballet, and very driven. She's lovely and smart, and seems quite grounded.
Miko's little brother, Jules, is the sixth child highlighted, and is the least interested in ballet. He does really well, but you can see from the beginning that, though he doesn't complain on camera, his heart isn't in it like the other kids. Before the end, he tells his mom that he wants to quit, and does so matter-of-factly. His mom is quite disappointed, but lets him.
The child who stood out to me the most, though, was not one of the main stories. Gaya is an 11-year-old from Israel, and she is friends with Aran. If I understand correctly, her mom is a choreographer, and Gaya was with her at a competition and saw Aran dancing. She was so impressed by him -- she describes him as "this beautiful boy" when she recounts their first meeting -- that it inspired her to want to dance more, and they became good friends. They're enchanting together, and she just comes alive when she dances -- joyous and beautiful. Really fun to watch.
Yup. Definitely "two thumbs up!" You can view the trailer here.

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