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Only When I Dance is a 2009 documentary film directed by Beadie Finzi.

Only When I Dance
Directed byBeadie Finzi
Produced byGiorgia Lo Savio
Nikki Parrott
StarringIrlan Santos da Silva
Isabela Coracy
Music byStephen Hilton
Edited byAlan Levy
Felipe Lacerda
Release date
  • April 2009 (2009-04) (Tribeca)
Running time
78 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


Only When I Dance tells the story of two teenagers, Irlan and Isabela, who pursue their dreams of becoming professional ballet dancers as a way to escape the violent slums of Rio de Janeiro.


The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2009. It was subsequently shown at several other major film festivals, including the Edinburgh International Film Festival,[1] the San Francisco International DocFest, the Rio Film Festival, Guadalajara Film Festival and Sheffield Doc/Fest. It was broadcast on television in the United Kingdom on Christmas Day 2009. It was released in USA in summer 2010. Prior to release it was pitched at the 2007 Sheffield Doc/Fest MeetMarket.


The producers spent over three years trying to find the candidates to be filmed, and the film took around ten months to film.


The film received mostly positive reviews from critics, with The Guardian awarding it four out of five stars and calling it a "moving, if rather shallow documentary".[2][3] The website Eye for Film awarded the film three and a half out of five stars, saying the film "shows how an artistic calling can be imbued with life-and-death determination."[4]


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