After premiering at Tribeca last year, Beadie Finzi’s infectious portrait of two Brazilian dancers and their dreams went on screen at Edinburgh, Silverdocs, Vancouver and Sheffield, among other festivals. It was released in the US in the summer, and came to DVD earlier this month through Film Movement.

ONLY WHEN I DANCE focuses on two Afro-Brazilian dancers from Rio de Janeiro’s impoverished favelas, Isabela and Irlan, who compete not only against other aspiring ballet dancers, but against the perception that ballet is the domain of the white upper class. Following them over the course of one year through multiple competitions that can make their careers or send them back to the slums, Finzi documents the highs and lows of their challenging art form – Isabela struggles with weight issues and finances, while the promising Irlan pushes his artistic comfort zone in developing an ambitious new piece. Beautifully lensed and smartly constructed, this real-life BILLY ELLIOT captures the poetry of their movement and their drive to succeed against the odds.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

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