Ballet on the Big (or Little) Screen

Anyone who’s ever wanted a behind-the-scenes look at the world of ballet pretty much has their pick these days. After the recent success of World Ballet Day where millions of viewers tuned into live streams from five top companies the interest in ballet is at an all-time high. Here is an additional handful of series and films to help you get your fill. Happy viewing!


 

Breaking Pointe: A reality show about Ballet West, a ballet company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The show is described as “A series that goes behind the stage curtain for an intense, unfiltered look at one of the most competitive ballet companies in the country. Beneath the beauty and glamour of the dance and costumes is a gritty dog-eat-dog world of extreme athleticism, focus, dedication, passion, pressure and, of course, the hunt for the unattainable perfection.” The show ran for two seasons before calling it quits but you can still catch the episodes for free. Even better news: you can binge watch the series.

city.ballet: Enter the graceful but competitive world of ballet through the eyes of executive producer, Sarah Jessica Parker (Parker currently sits on the board of NYCB). This behind-the-scenes docudrama reveals what it takes to perform on the ultimate stage, the New York City Ballet. 12 episodes plus a number of extras.

Big Ballet:  A three-part series that chronicles the highs and lows of a plus-size amateur troupe mounting a production of Swan Lake. Led by ballet legend Wayne Sleep, who worked through his own size issues as the shortest dancer ever to debut on the Royal Ballet stage, and Prima Ballerina Monica Loughman, Big Ballet shows the world that it’s not about the size of the dancer, but the size of the dancer’s heart.

First Position: Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world’s largest ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix. FIRST POSITION follows six extraordinary dancers as they prepare for the chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries, all while navigating the drama of adolescence.

Afternoon of a Faun: The Tanaquil Le Clercq story. Of the great ballerinas, Tanaquil Le Clercq may have been the most transcendent. She mesmerized viewers and choreographers alike – her elongated, race-horse physique became the new prototype for the great George Balanchine. The muse to both Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, they loved her as a dancer and a woman. Balanchine married her and Robbins created his famous Afternoon of a Faun for Tanny. She was the foremost dancer of her day until it suddenly all stopped. At age 27, Tanny was struck down by polio and paralyzed. She never danced again.

Still need more?

Marie Claire’s 5 Best Ballet Films of All Time

MUBI’s 15 Best Ballet Films

 


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