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Ballerina

4.7 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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(Jul 21, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the grand tradition of the Ballets Russes comes a portrait of five Russian ballerinas from the Mariinsky Theatre (also known as the Kirov).

Behind any great ballerina lies the discipline and rigour that comes from decades of training and practice. Superstars like Nijinsky, Baryshnikov and Pavlova established the reputation of Russian dancers as the best in the world. The five dancers profiled in this revealing film are tough, insightful and exceptionally talented; onstage they reveal no hint of the sweat, pain and hard work of the rehearsal studio. From Swan Lake to Romeo and Juliet, from the backstage studio to performing on stages around the world, Ballerina captures the sublime beauty of ballet, in all its resplendent glory.

FEATURING
Diana Vishneva, Svetlana Zakharova, Ulyana Lopatkina, Alina Somova & Evgenia Obraztsova

Review

Highest rating! It's like having a front row seat at some of the best ballet you'll ever see. A superb, beautiful film. --KCBS Radio, San Francisco

A surprisingly intimate portrait of what it means to be a ballerina...captures their fragility, and ferocity. --Time Out NY

Critic's Pick! A striking lesson in ballet's rigorous aesthetic alchemy. --Village Voice

Special Features

  • Photo Gallery
  • Filmmaker Biography
  • Dance Film Gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Alina Somova, Svetlana Zakharova, Diana Vishneva, Ulyana Lopatkina, Evgenia Obraztsova
  • Directors: Bertrand Norman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English, French, Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES
  • DVD Release Date: July 21, 2009
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0025Z4Q4E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,364 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ballerina" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the best ballet documentary I have ever seen on the Kirov. It is almost a sequel to "The Children of Theater Street." The Kirov has taken its history and technique and brought it into the modern arena - even the leotards and tights are like amazing costumes from Karinska. These women have incredible technique and artistry - each one very different from the last. They are current and yet old fashioned, in a good way, at the same time. If you're a dancer - you'll love this because its is filled with behind the scenes, rehearsals, class, and life in the reality of being a Russian dancer. Interesting perspective on performance scenes as well.
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You don't have to be enamored of Russian ballet to be struck by its beauty, by the intense years of dedication and hard work (to say nothing of innate talent) it takes to succeed in the rarified air of the Mariinsky or the Bolshoi.

This excellent new documentary takes you behind the scenes at the world-renowned Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, the guardian of Russian classical ballet (see Russian Life, Nov/Dec 2008). It traces the lives and fortunes of a handful of ballerinas in training, following recent graduates through their first years of service in the Mariinsky, while comparing their careers with those of world-renowned primas. In all, it is an astoundingly intimate, up-close portrait of these dancers' lives.

One of the most unexpectedly fascinating parts of the film, however, is when the cameras turn to interview a leading dancer from Paris. His declaration of the unparalleled toughness and grit of Russian dancers is insightful as only the judgement of one's peers can be. (As reviewed in Russian Life)
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Let me start by saying that I am not a ballet afficianado. However, this documentary was stunning. It offers a very detailed look at the Russian ballet. Most notably the Kirov (Mariinsky Theatre) and it's history of ballet, though it does show a brief segment on the Vaganova Academy. It chronicles several aspiring Prima Ballerinas, Alina Somova and Evgenia Obratzsova. These 2 girls are lovely, absolutely lovely to watch. My 3 young daughters and I were captivated, even though it was in English subtitles. We enjoyed the ballet class glimpses, the rehearsals and clips of stage performances. Also featured were Zvetlana Zakhorova, Diana VIshneva and Uliana Lopatkina, 3 of Russia's most popular ballerinas. They were breathtaking. Uliana had just decided to return to ballet after taking a 2 year absence and on the DVD we saw her working hard to make a successful comeback. Which of course she did. I can't say enough wonderful things about this documentary. We completely enjoyed every moment and have watched it numerous times. It runs 77 minutes but the time seems to fly by. Definitely worth the money! We recently saw Alina Somova perform in the Sleeping Beauty ballet and it was completely delightful to see the accomplished ballerina she is now compared to the young girl she was when this doucmentary was filmed!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This documentary is a suitable companion piece to the old Soviet era "The Children of Theater Street" and a welcome antidote to Hollywood's depictions of the life and training of professional dancers. Any university or college that has a dance program or dance team should buy this for the fine arts media collection.
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Format: DVD
From the opening scene of beautiful St. Petersberg in winter, with Tchaikovsky's
"Winter Dreams" symphony in the sound track, I was mesmerized. I have little
knowledge of ballet but am quite familiar with symphonic music. I found this
documentary enchanting and educational. There were brief snips from about eight ballets.
I like that they noted the composer and the the choreographer on each snip.
This is an excellent dvd for ballet novices. Experts in the field may prefer more
detail and analysis but most viewers should enjoy this. It inspired me to begin
attending live performances and to educate myself about the art form. This film
is almost at the level of the Ballet Russe film.
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Format: DVD
A great inside look at the life of young russian ballerinas. Great contrast to the movie 'Etoiles' and the more recent 'La Danse', also documentaries but of the Paris Opera Ballet. This one looks at individual dancers and focuses only a little on the school or company, showing perspectives from different points of a dancers career. The dancers talk a lot throughout the movie and it's interesting to hear them speak about their lives and careers, but I just enjoyed the scenes of them dancing, learning, performing. You really get a look at the hard work involved in making this art form look effortless.
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By Erin on March 13, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was expecting more, but this might be because of having just bought 'The Dancer' which is a much more in intimate experience, behind the scenes. I loved the cross-section of truly talented ballerinas that were featured. I wish there had been more backstage, warming up moments. And I'd also wished their had been more scenes dancing. The ballerinas talked a little more than I'd liked. Dance is best explained thru watching dance. That said, I've watched 5x since I got it two weeks ago, so it does fulfill the ballerina 'fix' when you need one. I'm glad I bought it. I do absolutely love the ballerinas in it. I love how when a ballerina takes off her toe shoes and just walks down the street you can't tell what a tower of strength and determination she is, she seems just like a regular girl.... it's like having a super-power. Lovely women, all.
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