Maybe I'm a snob, but I always saw 3D movies as a gimmicky fad that should never have left the '80s. Dance films in 3D seemed especially specious. Do you really want Giselle jumping out of the screen at you?

 

I think my answer might be "Yes." Last night I saw a screening of PINA, Wim Wender's tribute to the late post-modern choreographer Pina Bausch. It's a documentary filmed in 3D that includes interviews with Bausch's dancers intercut with site-specific bits and performance excerpts. It was some of the most visceral dance footage I'd ever seen. Or rather, experienced. When the camera is onstage right alongside the dancers in 3D, it feels so real; you're no longer simply a voyeur sitting in a dark movie theater watching a screen, but you're right there on set, moving with, then moving through the dancers. It feels similar to breaking the fourth wall—but without the accompanying self-conscious awkwardness.

 

Most impressively, the 3D effect diminishes that static feeling that usually sucks the life out of dance on film. Because the dancers' movement is so immediate, it doesn't seem as canned as it usually does. The 3D technology isn't quite perfect yet—when the dancers move quickly, their limbs sometimes blur. But 3D translates dance onto film in a way that retains more of its magic. Lesson learned: Don't knock it till you try it.

 

P.S. Pina Bausch was brilliant.

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During one of Charlotte Nash's first few weeks with Houston Ballet II, she was thrown into a run-through of Balanchine's Theme and Variations. "I had never really understudied before and I didn't know what I was doing," she says. "I fell right away and was quickly replaced." For Nash, now a dancer with Festival Ballet Providence, the episode was a tough lesson. "I was mortified, but then I said to myself, 'Okay, I need to figure out how to learn things more quickly.'"

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Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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