Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, where lifelong dreams are at stake. In the final round, with hundreds competing for only a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, nothing short of perfection is acceptable. Bess Kargman’s award-winning, box office hit documentary FIRST POSITION follows six extraordinary dancers as they prepare for the chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries, all while navigating the drama of adolescence. A showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, FIRST POSITION paints a thrilling and moving portrait of the most gifted ballet stars of tomorrow.
First Position had its World Premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and was named the audience choice’s 1st runner-up for Best Documentary. It also won the Jury Prize at the San Francisco Doc Fest, the audience award for Best Documentary at the Dallas International Film Festival, the audience award for Best Documentary at the Portland International Film Festival, and the audienceaward for Best Documentary at DOC NYC. Prior to its completion, First Position won the WESTDOC PitchFest. Director Bess Kargman was also given the Best New Director award at the Portland International Film Festival in 2012.
On 25th April 2013, 80 students and staff of the John Cranko Schule visited a ballet world premiere from Ulyana Lopatkina and Andrej Ermakov in the Kurhaus Baden-Baden.
The following day, Ulyana Lopatkina followed our invitation and gave class to the girls of the Ballet Academy of the John Cranko Schule.
Ulyana Lopatkina was born in the Ukraine and is one of the top classical dancers of her generation. She has danced in the biggest theaters world-wide. Lopatkina, Prima Ballerina at the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, is praised as "the Divine" or the "icon of Russian Ballet" by the media.
Those were two very special, inspiring days for all of us which will always happily be remembered. We are grateful that we have had the opportunity to see Ulyana Lopatkina dance and to even meet her in person the following day.
Ulyana Lopatkina with academy students of the John Cranko Schule
Ulyana Lopatkina with students and staff of the John Cranko Schule
We opened the new video room of the John Cranko Schule on 10th April 2013.
It was possible to equip this room thanks to funds from the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Due to the use of modern video and TV technology the ballet pedagogues can now precisely analyze training sequences with the students and thus further optimize training.
Of course the room has also been equipped with comfortable seating facilities for students and pedagogues.
The room is a symbiosis of modern technology and appealing ambience.The students are excited about this new facility and are looking forward to their upcoming visits in the new video room.
Video room John Cranko Schule
Sarah Abendroth and students of the John Cranko Schule at the opening of the video room
Alessandro Giaquinto, student of the John Cranko Schule, receives great applause from all sides for his performances in the NORD in "Dancer in the Dark" in the role of Gene.
"Dancer in the Dark" is a co-production of the Stuttgart Ballet and the Schauspiel Stuttgart.
Gustavo Echevarria, student of this year’s graduating class of the John Cranko Schule, won the „Outstanding European Dancer Award“ at the Youth America Grand Prix in New York in April 2012. The prize was awarded by the dance magazine „Dance Europe“.
The Youth America Grand Prix is an international ballet competition for students aged 9 to 19. A total of 5000 students participated in this year’s competition. 300 young talents from 26 different countries were permitted to enter the finals in New York.
Gustavo Echevarria presented one classical and one modern variation and was placed among the twelve best dancers of his age group.
Three students of the John Cranko Schule will travel to Poland in order to participate in the Ballet Gala of the International Dance Day in Bytom on 29th April 2012.
Jiwoo Kwon and Alexander McGowan will dance the classical "Pas de deux romantique". Theophilus Vesely will show "Todos os ais sao meus" and "Porto que sinto".
Jiwoo Kwon and Alexander McGowan
John Cranko Schule is
partner of the Prix de Lausanne