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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Movies: Dance movies?

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There is a documentary made in Germany called "Rhythm is it".


It is very much about education and motivation and self-esteem as well as dance.


There were 250 Berlin kids - ages 8 to 22, mainly from underpriviledged areas and backgrounds - who were brought together with choregrapher Royston Maldoom and his team. They worked on dance - movement over a five-week period, though most of the kids had ever done any dance before.


Together with the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle they put on "Sacre du Printemps" by Stravinsky.


The film documents the process, with scenes of the kids learning to concentrate and to believe in themselves, interspersed with rehearsal footage of the orchestra and scenes of some of the kids talking about how they feel during the rehearsals what it is like for them, being expected to do things so different than anything else in their experience.


It is fascinating, and if it ever comes your way, do try to see it.



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Guest dancing<><piper

Like someone mentioned, Backstage at the Kirov is a good one.

White Christmas (Rosemary Clooney, and several other famous actors though I can never remember their names) is a really good one. Much of it is dancing. The dancing is really good but the only ballet is the little girls who bourre around at the end :lol:

Pride and Prejudice (A and E version--my favorite movie!) has lots of ballroom dancing in it like many old fashioned movies but no ballet!

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Guest dancing<><piper

By the way, is Centre Stage an appropriate movie for most ages?

I have little siblings but they don't have to see it...what about an eleven year old and 13?

What about The Company?

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I agree with the previous posts lauding

-The Company

-Center Stage

-All That Jazz

-Billy Elliott

-The Turning Point



Basically almost every dance movie ever made was mentioned by someone, and that's a good thing. Even when a movie shows technical dance weakness or a somewhat lame plot, it's good to see for yourself what's been attempted.


I'd like to add a minor cult classic: "A Special Gift". :D


"A Special Gift" is the story of a farmboy growing up somewhere close to Los Angeles. He hides his participation in ballet class from his friends, but when he is awarded a lead role in "The Nutcracker" he must choose between mandatory basketball practice and ballet, and the secret is out.


Winner of several awards, including


-San Francisco Film Festival

-American Film Festival

-Chicago Film Festival

-Ohio State Award


It was shot as a made-for-TV ABC After School Special in 1997 and is somewhat hard to find. I couldn't find it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, so I googled it and ended up finding it online from a video/DVD dealer specializing in obscure minor movies. Only available in VHS. 44 minutes long. Directed by Martin Tahse.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Adrienne

My boyfriend bought me a used copy of The Company at Blockbuster, but I haven't seen it yet. He wants me to wait and watch it with him. Maybe we'll watch it if he comes over tonight. He's seen it once before, though, and he liked it.


From the reviews I've read of it, it seems like most reviewers don't understand that there isn't supposed to be much "plot" or "story" in this movie, and just berate its lack of storyline. Ebert and Roper gave it two thumbs up, though. But I guess I'll have to wait until I actually watch it before I can form my own opinion.


I also own Center Stage and Save the Last Dance, neither of which are particularly good movies, but they can be fun to watch, and what else really matters?

Edited by Adrienne
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  • 4 weeks later...

:blushing: Hi,


My little girl has a very old movie (that she watches almost every day!) called 'Ballerina'. It is a Walt Disney movie from the mid-1960s and features stars of the Royal Danish Ballet such as Mette Honningen (my daughter's idol), Kirsten Simone and Henning Kronstram.


It is the story of a young dancer who faces opposition to her chosen career, first in the form of her well-meaning mother, then her boyfriend. My little girl comments throughout "You would never do that to me, would you Mama?", "Poor Mette!", "If I couldn't go to ballet anymore I would cry forever!!!"...lol...it is quite amusing!


Best wishes,

Chynna. :)

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I can't believe no one has mentioned one of my favorite movies...Brigadoon. It stars Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse. Oh, and On The Town (another Gene Kelly movie). And Leslie Caron is fabulous in The Glass Slipper (a variation of Cinderella). I think most of the others I can think of have been mentioned already.

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Guest Tinks12115

Ooo I agree with everyone with Center Stage. THe DVD is amazing because they have extended scenes, and more dance sequences. I also read in the Swan Lake program for ABT that Gillian Murphy appeared in the movie somewhere.


The Company is very good too! It looks more like a documentary then a movie and personally, for me, it is a lot better when you watch it the 2nd and 3rd time. Also if you have the DVD, watch it with commentary because then you can fully understand why the scenes were made and such.


The documentary, THe Children of Theatre Street is very good too. My teacher, Angelina Armeiskaya is one of the main dancers whom the documentary follows while she dances and lives at her school


Wonderful movies!

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I can't believe no one has said "Flashdance".  Not about ballet, but still a good dance movie.


I can't belive I forgot about that one :) I just watched it again the other day. I LOVE that movie. Maybe because it so inspired me when I was a young dance student (back when it first came out). Thanks for reminding us.


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My city is referred to as "Hollywood South" because so much is being filmed here at any given time. I actually walked outside to go to work one day, and encountered Harry Connick, Jr. in my driveway doing a commercial. What that means is lots of auditions for dancers. People, including (formerly) myself, don't realize just how much dancing goes on in many movies. They don't have to be dance movies or musicals. There are plenty of dance scenes, and once you become aware of this, you'll start becoming aware of choreographed scenes, such as the outdoor dance scene in "Sweet Home Alabama."" All of that stuff requires auditions and choreography -- it's not just by accident. I went through a hairy audition for "Interview With a Vampire" -- there were some 400-500 dancers competing for about a dozen spots for a French court scene. It was incredibly arduous work, and yet people are always surprised -- "I didn't realize there was any dancing in that movie." Same for the movie "Undercovery Blues," which held auditions under the working title of "Cloak and Diaper." The choreographer from "The Turning Point" conducted the day-long audition, which required a full day of dancing the same combination over and over again while people were slowly weeded out -- it felt like "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" This was all for a 1-2 minute party scene at the opening of the movie.


It's interesting to start watching movies from that new perspective and noting how dancers are used in seemingly insignificant ways that still required lengthy auditions, rehearsals and shooting.

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My dd looves Center Stage (she is 11) and we have watched it together many times. It was actually a good film to introduce the topic of healthy eating for young dancers too.


We recently watched The Company, and while there were some terrific dance scenes the plot went absolutely nowhere. I know this is Alrman's style sometimes, but it is presented as being a film and not a documnetary.


Any time a ballet documentary or film of an entire ballet is on TV I try to tape them, so we have a collection including a few featuring the Paris Opera Ballet Company. One we have is Sylvie Guillem with Nureyev, dancing his choreography of Cinderella. We liked some of the dance scenes, but it wasn't 'traditional enough for dd's classic tastes. Dd likes to watch these for inspiration.

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i mentioned this in another thread, but there are 3 foreign films that deal with dance that are quite good. So, to add some movies that AREN'T Turning Point, Center Stage, etc. :clapping:


1. SHALL WE DANCE? (drama, japanese) - the US version of the same title is a remake (and a poorly done one, imo) of this fantastic movie. The lead girl (the j-lo character) was a principal with Tokyo Ballet at the time. It's availabel in an edited down version by Miramx in the US (cut by 20min) or R2 NTSC dvd from Japan.


2. FLYING BOYS (drama, korean) original title was BALLET STUDIO. the main char is a high school graduating senior who is taking his exams to try to get into college. Being somewhat ambivalent about his future, he's not faring so well in his studies. He is coerced into joining a ballet class among a group of mismatched characters...


3. HANA AND ALICE (drama, japanese) - Concerns 2 best friends who are about 14 yo or so. They have been best friends forever and are now in highschool and the different priorities are starting to pull them in different directions. But they still have ballet class together. Has areally fantastic dance scene near the end; the dancing isn't that great (the girls are not supposed to be great dancers), but the point of dance is really made and it's beautiful.



as for documentaries that haven't really been mentioned ( i think ), the Frederick Wiseman documentary BALLET dvd about ABT is very interesting, as wel as the LES ENFANTS DE LA DANSE 2 dvds (about 4 hours) which are amazing; the Manuel Legris LA SYLPHIDE variation is worht the price of the dvd itself! and i recently got the dvd BOLSHOI BALLET SCHOOL: BETWEEN FAME AND DRILL which is intersting, but would be more informative if it had english subs! There's a Sylvie Guillem doc which is just amazing and has exerpts from WHITE SWAN, BLACK SWAN, DON Q, and a couple of modern pieces. And the BEING A DANCER (Tetseuya Kumakawa) dvd is a must have, even if you don't speak japanese. The excerpts of him dancing LA BAYADERE, LE CORSAIRE, DON Q, BLACK SWAN, GISELLE, and SPECTRE DE LA ROSE are worth it; plus seeing footage of him in class at age 8ish and also competing Don Q variationi at age 14ish. wowo!





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