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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.

Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Everything Nutcracker
Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz as the Sugar Plum Fairy during a stage rehearsal for George Balanchine's Nutcracker. All photography by Arian Molina Soca.

For many professional ballet dancers, Nutcracker means weeks of performances. That usually translates to multiple casts—and important breakout opportunities for those in the junior ranks. On the afternoon of December 13, Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz made her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy along with her Cavalier, corps member Austin Eylar. For the Brazilian-born dancer, who joined PAB in 2018 after two seasons at Houston Ballet, Sugar Plum marks one of her first principal roles.

"I'm really excited," says Golz. PAB artistic director Angel Corella appointed 12 casts of Sugar Plum Fairies over the run's 29 performances. "When I first found out, I was like, 'Pinch me!' I still can't believe it."

We caught up with Golz just before her debut to see how she prepared for her big break.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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