Five Dances (2013)
Netflix description: Real dance Phenom show their acting chops in this tale about a prodigy from Kansas hoping to make it big in New York City.
My Notes: This is a fictional story about a young dancer traveling to NYC. This movie does not have much of a plot and is about a young dancer growing and learning to open himself up. Mostly, I watched this for the beautiful dancing and that is why you should watch it too.
Ballet 422 (2014)
Netflix description: Go backstage at the New York City Ballet, from first rehearsal to world premiere, as choreographer Justin Peck readies a new piece
My Notes: Ballet 422 is a documentary with no narration. It is a unique look at all the work that goes into a new ballet. I loved watching the story
of this ballet come together and think you will too.
First Position (2011)
Netflix description: Follow dancers training for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions, where the stakes are high.
My Notes: For someone like me who has never gone to the Youth America Grand Prix, this is a great look into the world of competitive ballet competitions. I loved seeing the story of these dancers as they compete and grow. What is also interesting about this documentary is how much these dancers have grown since it was filmed. Take a minute and search each of their names and you can see how far they have come since this movie (hint: check the balancing pointe podcast archives)
Netflix Description: This 2009 documentary profiles five Russian ballerinas from the Mariinsky Theatre, following them from rehearsals to performances around the globe.
My Notes: It is no secret that ballet training in Russia is a world of its own. The dancers there go through rigorous training with very few selected to move forward to a professional career. However from that training and life, many professional Russian ballerinas are considered to be the best dancers in the world. This documentary follows dancers in various stages of their training and is very educational for those who would like to learn more about how ballet training varies in the world.
The Turning Point (1977)
Netflix Description: DeeDee is a former ballerina who chose to settle down and raise children. When her daughter shows promise in ballet, DeeDee must confront her past.
My Notes: A classic fictional tale starring movie legends Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine, The Turning Point is a must watch for young dancers. Firstly I am passionate about bring some older movies to our young generation. It is good from them to see how differently the world was viewed and have a deeper understand about the history of cinema. Secondly this movie has a great story and some amazing dancing. Just give it a watch.
A Ballerina’s Tale (2015)
Netflix Description: Few make it to the elite rank of prima ballerina. Fewer still are African American. Only one soloed with six fractures.
My Notes: I think Misty Copeland is a wonderful role model for young dancers. She has overcome many obstacles to get where she is today, and this documentary explores that. I only wish it was a little more thorough about her history. I know she has a story to tell about trials in her dance training growing up and with her family. I wish it were open to exploring those stories and giving other young children encouragement to overcome their own issues and follow their dreams.
Dancing In the Light: Janet Collins Story (2015)
Netflix Description: A passionate and dedicated black dancer in 1930s America is asked to dance by the prestigious Ballet Russe, but they want her to paint her skin white.
My Notes: This short documentary told in half animation and half film tells the story of Janet Collins. For those of you who have never heard of Janet Collins I recommend watching this documentary. It is a look into the very different world of Ballet in 1930s America.
Fame High (2012)
Netflix Description: This coming-of-age chronicle captures a year in the life of students at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, also known as “Fame High”.
My Notes: This documentary goes a little outside the world of ballet, but is part of the arts. This shows students at the acclaimed “Fame High” as they try to navigate life and find themselves. I feel young dancers may enjoy watching this because they can identify with the students in the film. Pay particular attention to the aspiring ballerina featured.
Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq (2013)
Netflix Description: Her talent and grace brought ballet into a new era. But it wasn’t only her dancing that inspired people.
My Notes: This amazing documentary takes into the world of Tanaquil Le Clercq, a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet and ex-wife of George Balachine. She was a muse for the famous New York City Ballet founder, and a truly magical ballet dancer. Seeing the old footage of her dancing in the 1950s will move you, especially after learning of how she was stricken with polio at 27 and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.