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This feel-good documentary follows Irlan and Isabela, two teenagers from the violent favelas of Rio de Janeiro, as they pursue their dreams of becoming professional ballet dancers. This inspiring story takes us from Rio - where their communities must raise the funds to support their ambitions - to exhilarating ballet competitions in New York and Switzerland. It's a film about their determination to dance, and the price one must pay for talent, ambition and success.
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Jeff in Seattle - Customer Review
Interesting little doc showing two youngsters in the slums of Rio pursuing their dream of dancing (ballet). Through hard work and perseverance despite all odds through poverty, one (Irlan) achieves his dreams to play for a prestigeous dance company. The other (Isabela), also through hard work and perseverance, failed to make it because she was deemed "overweight". That felt harsh, but I would not understand the standards of ballet myself. Also, kudos to Irlan's father, who didn't succumbs to the stereotypical macho guy's attitude. Instead of sending him off to football course, he becomes his #1 fan and encourages and fosters Irlan's dream. Way to go!
Bryan Pfleeger - Customer Review
Beadie Finzi's ballet documentary Only When I Dance was one of the surprises at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film follows the lives of two young ballet dancers from some of the poorest and most violent of Rio's favelas. Irlan Santos da Silva and Isabela Coracy are young dancers looking for a way out of the poverty and violence that mark the lives of both themselves and their families. The way out is through the ballet. Most of the film is spent taking the viewer on the journey with the dancers. Ballet like any art is expensive both in financial terms and in emotional ones. One dancer succeeds the other fails. Issues of race and body image come into play. Despite all of this the film manages to stay upbeat as we follow the two youths from Rio to competitions in Switzerland and New York. Even if one doesn't have a great grasp on the technical world of dance the film is quite accessible. Finzi has created a powerful human story that is well worth exploring. The viewer is allowed to take an unforgettable journey with the protagonists hopefully into a better world.
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