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Video: Colombian immigrant among youth hoping to make it big in the world of ballet

LatinaLista — Ever since Natalie Portman won the Oscar for her role in Black Swan and Billy Elliot wowed audiences, ballet has been “lifted” to new heights of public attention. For the first time, in a long time, viewers saw that there was more to this style of dance than tutus, tights and slippers.

Perhaps more than other style of dance, ballet is not only the most rigorous but one that demands its dancers be the most self-disciplined in achieving perfection on their toes. A festival award-winning documentary, First Position, highlights this almost super-human dedication among its practioners, especially among the youth.

First Position is about six young ballet dancers preparing and competing in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), one of the world’s largest and most prestigious ballet competitions. The film delves into the private lives and motivations of the six young dancers. One of the dancers profiled is a young immigrant from Colombia named Joan Sebastian Zamora.

Sixteen-year-old Joan Sebastian lives alone in Queens, New York, working to help support his family back home in Colombia. He dances not only for himself, but also for his family and chooses to compete in the YAGP for the opportunity to gain a full scholarship to his dream school — The Royal Ballet School in London.

Like his principal dancer-idol Carlos Acosta of the Royal Ballet, Joan possesses unnaturally arched feet, clean sharp lines, incredible control and his sense of movement captures the audience, both on the large and desktop screens.

The documentary is a fascinating peek into the preparation, emotion, competition and endurance of these dance-athletes on their way to their big break in the world of ballet.

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