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Dance Documentary Films in the Leavey Library: Ballet

Titles A-B

American Ballet Theatre: A History
"Ric Burns presents this rich, 75-year history of one of the most respected and revered dance companies in the world. With unprecedented access to the company, witness dramatic live performances, grueling rehearsals, and iconic dances by Misty Copeland, Gillian Murphy, and many others; as well as rare footage of ballet icons Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Antony Tudor, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and more."

"Ballerina documents the lives of five ballerinas from the world renowned Kirov dance company. The film captures the magical masochism of the Russian prima ballerina with five women who eat, drink, bleed, and sweat ballet. They are Russia's pride and joy--the best at what they do. Each one has become ethereal and a star in her own right, fighting and clawing her way to glory in the Kirov company. The discipline is severe, the path strewn with sights amazing and disturbing, and the dancing truly divine and exquisitely beautiful. In comparison with the reality of what it takes to be a Russian prima ballerina, even as seen in this admittedly small slice, The Red Shoes is an outrageous fairy tale."

"Shows the American Ballet Theatre in rehearsal in their New York studio and on tour in Athens and Copenhagen. The viewer observes the numerous aspects of the creative, managerial and personal challenges faced by members of the company."

Ballet 422
"When 25-year-old NYCB dancer Justin Peck begins to emerge as a promising young choreographer, he is commissioned to create a new ballet for the Company's 2013 Winter Season. With unprecedented access to an elite world, the film follows Peck as he collaborates with musicians, lighting designers, costume designers and his fellow dancers to create Paz de la Jolla, NYCB's 422nd new ballet."

"A documentary that follows, over four years, the struggles, set-backs and accomplishments of three friends and hopeful future dance stars: Lukas, Syvert, and Torgeir."

Bringing Balanchine Back: New York City Ballet
"Follow the New York City Ballet, led by Master in Chief Peter Martins, to the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, where ballet legend and NYC Ballet co-founder George Balanchine and others took their first ballet steps. Narrated by Kevin Kline."

The Dance Goodbye
"What is life like for a dancer when they can no longer dance? Inspired by the life of Merrill Ashley's departure from the New York City Ballet as an acclaimed principal dancer, this captures the poignancy of this life turning point."

La Danse: Le Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris
"The film follows the rehearsals and performances of seven ballets: Genus by Wayne McGregor, Medea by Angelin Preljocaj, The House of Bernarda Alba by Mats Ek, Paquita by Pierre Lacotte, The Nutcracker by Rudolph Nureyev, Orpheus and Eurydice by Pina Bausch, and Romeo and Juliet by Sasha Waltz. The film shows the work involved in administering the company and the coordinated and collaborative work of choreographers, ballet masters, dancers, musicians, and costume, set, and lighting designers."

Donna Cerio's Ballet Technique with a Broadway Flare
" an innovative approach for teaching classical ballet technique using original Broadway show soundtracks and choreography. Developed as a way to teach strong ballet technique to students taking her private Broadway dance classes, Donna draws upon years of professional teaching, choreography and performance experience to create this fun and accessible way for everyone to learn and enjoy the benefits of ballet technique."

Pennsylvania Ballet at 50
"Showcases one of Philadelphia's cultural treasures, Pennsylvania Ballet, and highlights the Company's 50th anniversary celebration performance in [October] 2013 at Philadelphia's historic Academy of Music."

"Quietly follows one high school class on its journey through Cuba's world-famous National Ballet School. The teens love to dance, but for many of them dance is also their sole escape from a life of poverty. The documentary begins as an observational portrait, but in their third year of school the main character, Mayara, takes charge of her destiny in an astonishing way. Suddenly this simple portrait takes a dramatic turn as Mayara's action surprises everyone."

Sensuality & Nationalism in Romantic Ballet
"... reveals intriguing facets of 19th century ballet that illustrate innovations far beyond our common understanding of this era. This picturesque period of ballet offered a revolutionary focus highlighting the stories and characters of everyday people, inspired by a combination of dynamic influences from 'national dance'. The colorful ballet of this era, bridges the gap from the opulence of Baroque dance, to the broadened aesthetics and virtuosic technique of the Romantic Ballet. This DVD program integrates documentary information with restaged dances, based on documentation provided by 19th century dance literature and iconography. The dances include the signature dance of the famous ballerina, Fanny Elssler and works by the choreographer, Henri Justamant, a French ballet master who left notated scores of more than 100 ballets and divertissements. Restaged dance footage is supplemented by an extraordinary collection of illustrations from the Derra de Moroda Dance Archives of Salzburg, Austria."