Tag Archives: Michaela DePrince

The Top 10 Gifts From the World of Ballet in 2014

It’s been said that the best gifts can’t be bought– and this was never more true than this past year. 2014 was a huge year of gifts from ballet, with some high-tech breakthroughs and historical firsts. Here’s my list of the Top Ten Gifts from the ballet world.


1. World Ballet Day. This unprecedented, uber-exciting event gave us twenty-four hours straight of livestream ballet from the Australian Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, The Bolshoi Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and the Royal Ballet. More about this event here.

2. Pointe shoes went high tech. Technology brought us a pointe shoe that traces a dancer’s movements and turns them into a new form of art.

3. Ballet West moved into their new home. Sparkly, and brand–spanking new, the company celebrated this new era with an opulent gala.

4. Christopher Stowell returned to San Francisco Ballet. Stowell, a former principal dancer with with San Francisco Ballet,  has already received critical acclaim for his work as ballet master.

5. A new edition of Smuin Ballet’s the Christmas Ballet. A Bay Area favorite, the Christmas Ballet truly is the gift that keeps on giving–an ever-evolving Nutcracker alternative–new kinds of fun every year.

6. The Nutcracker turned 122 this year. Perhaps the best-loved ballet of all time. Read more about it here in this lovely post from Tutus & Tea.

Nutcracker27. 7.Misty Copeland made ballet history. Copeland debuted as American Ballet Theater’s first black Swan Queen, performing Odette/Odile, Swan Lake’s quintessential role.

8. Outstanding dance reads by Misty Copeland, Michael dePrince and Brandy Colbert. Copeland’s Life in Motion and dePrince’s Tking Flight:From War Orphan to Star Ballerina are both memoirs, striking stories of women who go for their dreams despite all odds. Colbert’s Pointe is a dark page-turner set in the ballet world.

9. Australian Ballet wowed the West Coast during their US tour. The company presented Graeme Murphy’s innovative version of Swan Lake–make sure you check out the gorgeous shots in this link.

10. The Bolshoi Ballet’s Nutcracker came to a theater near you. Seeing the Bolshoi was never easier than Solstice Even at cinemas across the globe.

As you open your gifts this holiday season I hope you take a moment to reflect upon the gifts that come without a price tag…the best gifts of all.




Visiting Bethlehem with Miami City Ballet

A few of my favorite dance things

Dance film favorites





Dance Film Favorites











The world has recently been blessed with several truly great dance films. Being a visual person I love nothing better than to feel swept away by a captivating film (or photo). Since time does not permit attending every performance I’d like to see, watching dance on screen keeps my options open and gives me the chance to see things I might not otherwise be exposed to.  Here are a few of my favorites; if you haven’t seen them yet you should!

1. First Position. Follow a handful of dancers through their trial by fire during the Prix de Lausanne, one of the most prestigious dance competitions in the world. Many dancers who participate in the Prix de Lausanne are later offered apprenticeships or company contracts. Michaela DePrince, one of the dancers featured in First Position, has since gone on to become the youngest member of American Ballet Theater.

2. Pina. German choreographer Pina Bausch was a sensation in her time and this film is a stunning tribute. Every aspect from sets and costumes to soundtrack and choreography echoes the colorful and ethereal world that she created. Directed by Wim Wenders, Pina was nominated for an Oscar and won several European awards for Best Documentary.

3. Le Vent. This one only runs for a few minutes and is well worth the watch. Marina Kanno and Giacomo Bevilaqua from Staatsballett Berlin perform several jumps captured in slow motion at 1000 frames per second. Gorgeous… and the music is, too.

4. Lost in Motion. Guillaume Côté, a principal with the National Ballet of Canada put his own money and lots of fund-raising effort into creating this two-minute video.
 Côté wanted to portray a dancer in ‘the zone’ – to show what it really feels like to dance.
 “I wanted to get the tights off and I wanted to get the costumes off, and just show the sheer physicality of classical dance,” he said in an interview with CBC’s Metro Morning.
 The prolonged jumps were captured with a high-definition, high-speed Phantom camera. Let me know if you don’t agree that it is brilliantly awesome.

5. Pas de DeuxGalen Summer’s documentary shows New York City Ballet dancers Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette – from a perspective that is so up close and personal – the viewer feels like one of the dancers. For her part of a behind-the-scenes series for the New York City Ballet, Summer and her team figured out how to attach cameras to vests the dancers wore while performing the wedding pas de deux from Tschaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty.” You can watch Summer’s other NYC Ballet documentaries ‘Pointe Shoes,’  and “Tutu” here.

I’ll be back on Thursday with more great film picks. Happy viewing!