USA | 2022 | 87 min. | David Petersen

Acclaimed ballet dancer Steven Melendez returns to the Bronx shelter that was his childhood home in order to mentor a trio of aspiring dancers in this emotionally rich, unforgettable documentary from director David Petersen.

Director/Producer David Petersen, Subject/Producer Steven Melendez, Producer Mary Recine, and several crew members scheduled to attend.

*Restricted to audiences in WA State.

Long before he was an internationally acclaimed ballet dancer, Steven Melendez was a kid from the Bronx, the son of a struggling single mom who spent three years of his youth in a shelter. Now decades into a successful career with the New York Theatre Ballet, Steven has returned to the shelter of his youth to mentor a new group of kids fighting to be heard amidst the emotional turmoil of housing insecurity. For ten-year-old Victor and eight-year-old Sharia, ballet becomes a possible route to a better life, though the weight of long-term instability creates unexpected life detours and heavy psychological burdens no child should have to carry. And for outspoken 12-year-old Yolanssie, whose family was unhoused by mounting medical bills, the stresses of never having a stable home lead to anger and aggression that threaten to derail her very real aspirations to one day practice law. Filmed over the course of ten years and culminating in an unforgettable group performance, director David Petersen has crafted a powerful exploration of hope, dreams, and the strength of a child's resilience.

Hebe Tabachnik

  • Director: David Petersen
  • Principal Cast: Steven Melendez, Diana Byer, Victor Abreu, Yolanssie Cordona, Sharia Blockwood
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2022
  • Running Time: 87 min.
  • Producer: Mary Recine, David Petersen
  • Cinematographers: Gary Griffin, Alan Jacobsen, David Petersen
  • Editors: M. Watanabe Milmore, David Petersen
  • Music: Kathryn Bostic
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Tribeca Festival 2022 (Audience Award: 2nd Place), Palm Springs International Film Festival 2023 (Best of Fest)
  • Filmography: Journey of the Bonesetter’s Daughter (2011), Let the Church Say, Amen (2002), If You Lived here You Would Be Home Now (1996)
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: The Film Sales Company