Only When I Dance (2009) - Synopsis

Only When I Dance is a feature documentary following two young teenagers, Isabela and Irlan as they strive to realise an extraordinary dream. One girl, one boy; both black and poor, and living in one of the most violent favelas on the outskirts of Rio. Irlan and Isabela both want to dance to dance ballet and their ambition is to leave Brazil to join one of the great companies in the North. For them, dance is the way out, an escape, and on stage, an ecstasy, that is rarely found in their day to day lives. The question is, can they make it? Shot in Rio, Lausanne and New York the film follows these two gifted teenagers during the year that will make or break their futures.

Only When I Dance is Mad Hot Ballroom meets Billy Elliot, set in the favelas of Rio. A classic narrative of coming of age. Of chasing a dream to dance the most perfect dance against all the odds of race and of circumstance. Of the price you must pay for talent, for ambition, for success.