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"Only When I Dance": Tribeca Film Fest Documentary

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And though they have the talent, they don't look like all the others. Ballet has long been the rarified and elitist domain of the white upper class, but these two black high schoolers from Rio de Janeiro's working-class favelas are determined to succeed in this physically and emotionally demanding discipline. Director Beadie Finzi's inspiring documentary trails the dancers and their tough-love mentor from Brazil to New York on one critical, competition-fueled year in their lives.


The film's page doesn't give the last names of the two featured dancers, Isabela and Irlan, but Irlan Silva is a member of ABT II, which is credited as co-presenter of the film.

The film has been shown twice already. Has anyone seen it? A friend who attended a press screening called it "beautiful," and noted that "cynical reporters burst into applause."

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At the end of the movie we are left in suspense as to the future of Isabela Coracy. Her family strove to send her to the NY Youth America 2008 competition but unlike Irlan she wasn't a winner. Her mentor Mariza says she has the required technique but her figure is not classical enough, she needs to be more slender, to lose more weight.

She finally decides not to have another go at the New-York competition and instead to work improving herself and find another opportunity, "possibly at home" (which we are told at the beginning of the movie is most unlikely for a black dancer). Her parents are in debt and very despondent at all the efforts having yielded nothing.

On the brigth side we are shown Irlan's departure to New-York and his new career as a professional at ABT.

His family too had to struggle to pay for his going to competitions abroad (we are shown his Nijinsky variation at the 2008 Prix de Lausanne which won him acclaim).

It is moving to see how both family put trust in their children, their choice of careers and are supportive both emotionally and materially.

You can have a glimpse of Isabela on youtube by putting YOqAHP_VIsQ and 3mohP9bPWuc in the searchbox.

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