Only When I Dance

Watch Only When I Dance

  • NR
  • 2009
  • 1 hr 18 min
  • 6.9  (268)
  • 59

Only When I Dance is a 2009 documentary film directed by Beadie Finzi that tells the story of two young, aspiring ballet dancers from the favelas of Brazil, Irlan Santos da Silva and Isabela Coracy Alves Nascimento Santos. Set against the backdrop of poverty and crime in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, the film follows the two dancers as they struggle to overcome the challenges of their environment and realize their dreams of a better life through dance.

At the heart of the film is the story of Irlan, a young black boy from one of Rio's most dangerous favelas, who dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer. Despite the obstacles that stand in his way - poverty, crime, and the legacy of racism and discrimination in Brazil - Irlan is determined to succeed, driven by his passion for dance and his love for his family. With the help of his dedicated teacher, Mariza Estrella, and the support of his mother and sister, Irlan works tirelessly to perfect his craft and earn a place at the prestigious Municipal Theatre Ballet School in Rio.

Meanwhile, we also follow the story of Isabela, a talented young dancer from a more affluent background who struggles with her own insecurities and fears of failure. Though she is initially dismissive of Irlan's dreams, she soon comes to admire his determination and passion, and the two dancers forge a friendship that will help each of them overcome their own obstacles and find success in the world of ballet.

Throughout the film, we are treated to stunning footage of Irlan and Isabela in action, as they train, rehearse, and perform some of the most beautiful and demanding ballet routines ever created. We also meet their families, and see how their struggles to support their children's dreams are intertwined with their own experiences of poverty, violence, and oppression.

What is perhaps most striking about Only When I Dance, however, is not just the story it tells, but the way it tells it. Shot with a keen eye for both beauty and grit, the film paints a vivid picture of life in the favelas, capturing both their harsh realities and their moments of unexpected joy and resilience. The contrast between the squalor of the slums and the elegance and grace of the dancers is both stark and inspiring, a testament to the human spirit's ability to transcend even the toughest of circumstances.

At the same time, the film never shies away from the challenges that Irlan and Isabela face, from the racism they encounter in the ballet world to the violence and poverty that threaten to derail their dreams at every turn. But even in the face of all these obstacles, the two young dancers never give up, drawing strength and inspiration from each other and from the power of their art.

Overall, Only When I Dance is a breathtakingly beautiful and deeply moving film that tells a powerful story of hope, resilience, and the transformative power of dance. Whether you are a lover of ballet or simply a fan of inspiring stories of overcoming adversity, this film is sure to leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.

Only When I Dance is a 2009 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 18 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 59.

Only When I Dance
Where to Watch Only When I Dance
Only When I Dance is available to watch free on Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Only When I Dance for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 18 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (268)
  • Metascore