This Afro-Brazilian Ballerina’s Journey From Rio to Harlem Is the Uplifting Short Film You Need

Lead Photo: Photo: Underground NYC
Photo: Underground NYC
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Auditions are terrifying. As a performer, everything can hinge on a few moments on a stage in front of strangers that’ll be quick to judge your every move. It can be a paralyzing moment for many. It can lead you to think back to where it all began and how far you’ve come.

Ben Briand’s short film opens with that very moment, putting us in the headspace of a ballerina about to be called out to dance. We see a man pointing directly at us and we look down, examining our sweaty palms. And at that moment, we’re shown everything that’s brought this ballerina to this exact moment. Very quickly, though, we learn this is no ordinary story. This is the journey of Ingrid Silva.

Seeing everything through Silva’s eyes, Briand transports us back to Rio’s slums where the young black ballerina grew up. We see her training incessantly. We feel the effort it takes for her to master her art. We see the support of her family, who are teary-eyed when she heads to snowy New York. We see her struggle while learning English and make pitiful tips while working as a waitress. But through it all, we see her resilience even if her background and her skin color set her apart from those around her.

And then we’re brought back to the present when she’s called to the stage, at which point we’re finally allowed to see her dance. She’s transcendent. All the work, it seems, has paid off. It’ll make your heart swell with pride. Consider Silva’s story (which has a happy ending: she’s now a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem) the heartwarming and uplifting film you need to watch today.