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Need Some Back-to-Studio Inspo? Take Your Pick from These 8 Dance Docs, Now Streaming on OVID

A still from Dancing Dreams. Courtesy OVID

If you're seeking an extra dash of inspiration to start the new season on the right—dare we say—foot, look no further than dance documentaries.

Starting August 23, OVID, a streaming service dedicated to docs and art-house films, is adding eight notable dance documentaries to its library. The best part? There's a free seven-day trial. (After that, subscriptions are $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually.)

From the glamour of Russian ballet stars to young dancers training in Cuba to a portrait of powerhouse couple Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder, here's what's coming to a couch near you:


Carmen & Geoffrey

Way before #relationshipgoals was a thing, Carmen De Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder were exemplifying them. Dive inside the legendary careers and five-decade marriage of this dynamic duo in Carmen & Geoffrey, featuring archival footage from as early as the 1950s. The couple's collective performing and choreographic careers spanned Broadway, film, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and much more.

Ballerina

Onstage, we see classical ballet's glamour. Behind the scenes, it's about sweat, discipline and rigor. Ballerina shows viewers both perspectives, focusing on the careers of Mariinsky luminaries Diana Vishneva, Svetlana Zakharova, Ulyana Lopatkina, Alina Somova and Evgenia Obraztsova.

Ballet Boys

Follow three rising dance talents over four years as they prepare to enter the professional ballet world. While Ballet Boys is a story of sacrifices, it's also a portrayal of teenage friendship shared by Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød, Syvert Lorenz Garcia and Torgeir Lund.

Dancing Dreams

Pina Bausch fans, this one's for you. Dancing Dreams retells the 10-month process when Bausch staged her Kontakthof on 40 teenagers in 2008. Be a fly on the wall during rehearsals with the late master.

Dream Girls

Though Dream Girls was originally released in 1993, its story of Japan's Takarazuka Revue, a musical theater company, is equally intriguing today. Thousands of girls apply to attend the competitive Takarazuka Music School annually. Their ultimate goal? To join the prestigious Revue, where they have the option to perform male or female roles.

Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter

A must-watch for all dance majors, Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter explores the life of Martha Hill, a pioneering figure for dance in academia and Juilliard's founding director of dance.

Secundaria

For many young dancers, training at the illustrious National Ballet School in Cuba is a dream. But for locals, it may also be an escape from poverty. Secundaria follows one high school class through their training, with a special focus on Mayara Pineiro, who's now a principal at Pennsylvania Ballet.

The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen

The late Angela Bowen's life was truly multifaceted: She grew up in Boston during the Jim Crow era, married and had children, divorced, and came out as a lesbian. Along the way, she started a dance studio, was a professor of English and women's studies and became a dedicated gay rights activist.

Ballet Careers
Lenai Alexis Wilkerson. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations.

This is one of a series of stories on recent graduates' on-campus experiences—and the connections they made that jump-started their dance careers. Lenai Alexis Wilkerson graduated from University of Southern California with a BFA in dance (dance performance concentration) and a political science minor in 2019.

As Lenai Alexis Wilkerson looked at colleges, she wanted a school that would prepare her for two totally different professions: dancing and law. "I knew, pretty much when I was 16, that I wanted to go to law school," she says. "So I wanted the opportunity to have a dual college experience, where I could have a conservatory training style within a university and I could focus equally on my academics." When she auditioned for the inaugural class of University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, she knew it was the right fit.

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Sponsored by Ballet Arizona
Tzu Chia Huang, Courtesy Ballet Arizona

These days, ballet dancers are asked to do more than they ever have—whether that's tackling versatile rep, taking on intense cross-training regimens or managing everything from their Instagram pages to their summer layoff gigs.

Without proper training, these demands can take a toll on both the mind and the body. But students can start preparing for them early—with the right summer intensive program.

The School of Ballet Arizona's summer intensive takes a well-rounded approach to training—not just focusing on technique and facility but nurturing overall dancer growth. "You cannot make a dancer just by screaming at them like they used to," says master ballet teacher Roberto Muñoz, who guests at the program every summer. "You have to take care of the person as well."

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News
Nicolas Pelletier in Carmina Burana. Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet.

Last week, Colorado Ballet interrupted Nutcracker rehearsals for an exciting announcement: Four dancers were being promoted. Though all made the jump from the company's corps de ballet, Nicolas Pelletier ascended directly to the rank of soloist, while Sean Omandam, Emily Speed and Melissa Zoebisch were promoted to demi-soloist. This news comes hot on the heels of last August's promotion of Francisco Estevez to principal.

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Courtesy School of Pennsylvania Ballet

While many of us are deep in Nutcracker duties, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet director James Payne has been looking further ahead, finalizing preparations for the school's summer intensive programs. In January, he and his staff will embark on a 24-city audition tour to scour the country for the best young dancers, deciding whether or not to offer them a spot—maybe even a scholarship—in the school's rigorous 5-week intensive focused on high-caliber ballet instruction. Though he'll be evaluating aspirants, he urges that as a student, you should be equally selective in choosing programs that could galvanize your training—and possibly even your career.

We got Payne's advice on strategizing your summer intensive plan before the audition cycle kicks in:

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