Great dance documentaries memorialize brilliant choreography and performances, and stand as thrilling works of art in their own right. Filmmakers use their cameras not only to capture the movements of the dance, but to become part of it. The cameras follow dancers, interacting with them, becoming instruments with which to create the complex and elaborate art of cinematic choreography. Combining archival and current verite footage with insider interviews, dance documentaries chronicle the lives of dancers and development of dance companies. This is a list of exemplary documentaries about widely varied dance genres.
First Run Features
French filmmaker Bertrand Norman follows the careers of five Russian ballerinas in their career path from the acclaimed Vaganova Academy to the stage of the famed Kirov Ballet. Using magnificent perormance footage, as well as behind the scenes shots and candid interviews, Bertrand gives audiences am insider glimpse of the extreme discipline and dedication demanded of ballerinas.
Under the guidance of Ballet Master-in-Chief Peter Martins, the New York City Ballet travels from its home base in Manhattan to St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater, to perform at the legendary Mariinsky Theater, where George Balanchine, a founder of the acclaimed American had begun his own career. This engaging documentary chronicles an exciting cross-cultural experiment in dance, and captures some spectacular sequences of the New York City Ballet's performances of choreography by Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins.
First Run Features
A superb collection of award-winning dance films from around the world. Each short film is an exquisite work of art in which different directors and cinematographers use their unique techniques, sensibilities and visions to successfully capture the full dynamic flow, spatial tension and emotional depth of dance. There's also a Dance for Camera 2.
This fascinating profile of the fabulous Jerome Robbins features excerpts from his personal journals, archival performance footage, and never-before-seen rehearsal recordings, as well as interviews with Robbins himself and over forty of his colleagues and admirers, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques d’Amboise, Suzanne Farrell, Arthur Laurents, Peter Martins, Frank Rich, Chita Rivera, Stephen Sondheim and more. A true tribute to one of America's most creative and influential contemporary choreographers.
City Lights Pictures
Mitzi Gaynor, Hollywood's razzle dazzle showgirl, is a dancing dynamo in this profile, which compiles footage from her spectacular television specials.
Elephant Eye Films
Extraordinarily accomplished and athletic breakdancers from around the world show their stuff in the high-voltage competition known as "Battle of The Year," held annually in Braunschweig, Germany.