Whether you’ve had a long day at the office, studio, or school, there are few things more relaxing than plopping down on the couch and watching something delightful dance across your TV screen; that's where these ballet-inspired films come in. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, have these flicks on in the background while you get a few battements, rond de jambes, and grand pliés done at your portable ballet barre.
First Position is a critically acclaimed documentary that’s “about ballet but it’s also a story of youth, ambition and the pressure to be the best,” Flicks writes. The film follows young dancers (from age nine to nineteen) as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world. Contracts and scholarships are at stake, not to mention pride and glory. First Position makes you “ponder the varying degrees of ambition and talent driving these young people to push their bodies beyond the limit,” Time Out writes. The “joy of watching lies in the purity of their passion,” Flicks concurs.
The Turning Point
New York Times critic Vincent Canby describes The Turning Point as “an old-fashioned backstage musical transplanted to the world of ballet by three people who not only know it but also love it.” A box-office success in 1977 and a recipient of eleven Oscar nominations, the drama centers on Deedee (Shirley MacLaine) and Emma (Anne Bancroft), former dance colleagues who are reunited after twenty years. One of them abandoned her prima ballerina ambitions and the other made it to the top. But is the grass greener on the other side of the barre?
Gloriously cheesy and on the DVD shelf of every teenage girl in 2000, Center Stage is, nevertheless, a delightful tale of dancer rivalry, complex friendships, and scandalous trysts between rehearsals. The film is an “entertaining look at the joys and challenges of the world of dance,” Reel Talk writes, and even if the acting isn’t Oscar worthy (the cast is mostly professional dancers, after all), the ballet scenes alone are enough to warrant a viewing.
What are some of your favorite dance movies? Leave some suggestions in the comments! Flicks like these leave you itching to have a barre wherever you are? Contact us for help making a selection.