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New York City Ballet: Bringing Balanchine Back NR CC

4.3 out of 5 stars (49) IMDb 7.8/10

New York City Ballet: Bringing Balanchine Back tells the story of New York City Ballet's historic visit to St. Petersburg, Russia to perform at the famed Mariinsky Theater, where ballet legend and NYCB co-founder George Balanchine received his training and began his career. One of the most famous theaters in the world, the Mariinsky is where Tschaikovsky created The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty, and where other greats of the ballet world such as Nureyev, Nijinsky and Baryshnikov took their first ballet steps.

Starring:
George Balanchine, Valery Gergiev
Runtime:
1 hour, 18 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Richard Blanshard
Starring George Balanchine, Valery Gergiev
Supporting actors Darci Kistler, Kevin Kline, Peter Martins
Studio City Lights Pictures
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 19, 2008
Format: DVD
I found this DVD to be a fascinating viewing experience. George Balanchine was born in St. Petersburg in 1904. His parents were Georgian and his father was a well known composer and his mother was devoted to the arts. At nine he enrolled at the Imperial Ballet, which was disbanded after the Soviets took over. He made his living playing the piano anywhere he could earn some money. He eventually returned to formal study of both music and dance. After his graduation he began his professional work in dance. He joined Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1924 and continued to develop his art. Balanchine came to America in 1934 and formed the American Ballet in 1935. After various other companies and incarnations the New York City Ballet emerged in 1948. He returned to St. Petersburg in 1962 (and I believe also in 1972 - but I am not sure). The great choreographer died in 1983. He was often married and divorced and had passionate and publicized affairs with many dancers. Yet, he had no children. But he left behind a rich legacy of glorious ballets and this film is a great presentation of those dancers who care to keep that legacy alive and part of our living artistic traditions and I bless them for it.

Peter Martins became the artistic leader of the New York City Ballet after his own career as a dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet and the company he now leads. He now choreographs new ballets, teaches dancers, and does all it takes to keep the company alive and performing at a very high level. I love his pride in the legacy he both inherited and helped create with Balanchine, Robbins, and others. He notes that the present company dances as well or even better than when the dances were first created.

This movie shows the companies return to St. Petersburg in 2003.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It has been decades since I faithfully attended NYCB performances, and the company seems to have gotten a lot bigger. There were a few names I recognized from the stage: Jock Soto and Darcy Kistler, but as large as this company has gotten, the quality of the dancer's technique and the dancing itself is as high or higher than it ever was. And I remember McBride, Martins, Ashley and Farrell in their prime.

It's hard to believe that this company's dancers are so young (average age, we learn, is only 21) and so good. Many of them were not born when the revered "Mr. B." passed away, but under the able stewardship of Peter Martins, this company has more than kept Balanchine's legacy vibrant.

This is a documentary about the return to Russia, to the Maryinsky theatre where Balanchine danced his first steps, as well as Pavlova, Nijinsky, and Baryshnikov. The return commemorates Balanchine and the tour will take place during the "White Nights" festival (so called because at that time of the year, the sun sets after midnight and rises soon afterwards).

For most of the company, it is about dancing. But for some older company personnel who had visited Russia during prior NYCB visits, there seems to be an anxiety about presenting Balanchine's work in the country of his birth in a way that will both honor Balanchine, and not ruffle too many Russian feathers. (Some Russians interviewed in sound bites sound a little skeptical of American dancers' ability to perform the work of a native Russian as it should be performed, and a couple of Russian ballet students make little digs at this or that about the Americans' technique, but I guess it is awkward in a way to go back to perform the work of someone who left Russia to form this company.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
"Bringing Balanchine Back" is a fine tribute to a dance genius. Even the young dancers who never met him seem very involved in carrying on his ideas and philosophy. The ballets were performed exquisitely, especially the last one danced to "Red River Valley." It was also great to view the scenery in St. Petersburg. I am not a dancer, but I do appreciate ballet, and this film compares with any I have scene, including "The Company."
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I was hoping for full performances--while I understood that it was more of a documentary about NYCB going to Russia, it would have been nice to have more dancing. Most of the dances that were shown were mixed in with cuts of other dancers watching backstage and so on. It would have been nice to have more uninterrupted ballets, but I guess that wasn't really its purpose.
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Format: DVD
Since you are reading this review, I know you are interested in what goes on in the world of ballet. I purchased this DVD for the same reason. I read the reviews here on amazon and was convinced I should get it. It really tells a story, like so many of the ballets do. However, this tells the story of a "trip" to a far-off land where many of the ballets we have grown to love were born. The name of the mysterious far-off land is Russia, the city is St. Petersburg, and the name of the place is the Mariinsky Theatre. As best as I can tell, Mariinsky is pronounced (Mar-IN-skee).

Why make the trip? Balanchine cannot go "back", He's been dead over twenty years, but his only progeny can go back for a visit to his birth-place. Who is his progeny? The New York City Ballet is the only child he ever had, even though he was married several times. Which brings up an interesting coincidence. He was once married to Maria Tallchief, one of his dancers (who was exceedingly beautiful), and one of the reviewers is named H. Tallchief from Oklahoma. So, his child is a whole group of children,(many born long after he died) carrying on his legacy with the help of people like Peter Martins, former dancer , now Artistic Director and Ballet Master of NYCB. The company has nearly 100 members in it's cast and their average age is only twenty-one. Think about that.

The occasion for the "trip" was to headline the three hundredth anniversary of St. Petersburg, and to bring to a conclusion "The Festival of the White Nights", so named because the sun does not set until after mid-night, and rises again shortly after, during that season of the year in St. Petersburg.

There is some anxiety in the minds of many cast members, because they do not know exactly how the Russians will accept them.
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