Ballet Stars

A little over a month ago Roberto Bolle gave his final bow with American Ballet Theatre, though thankfully he's not saying goodbye to ballet altogether. After 10 years dancing as a principal with ABT while guesting around the world and at his home company La Scala Ballet, he's now planning to focus on his own galas and projects in Italy. A frequent face in those galas is Polina Semionova, a principal guest with Staatsballett Berlin (and also a former principal with ABT). Semionova and Bolle have danced together for years, and while Bolle is renown for his partnerships with many ballerinas, the two make an exceptionally elegant duo. Here they dance Vladimir Burmeister's Black Swan Pas de Deux at the 2007 Tchaikovsky Gala in Milan.

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Anthony Crickmay, Courtesy DM Archives

It's summertime, the perfect opportunity to get together with your dance buddies for a ballet movie night! For your convenience, we've put together a list of some of our favorite Hollywood dance films, along with info on where to stream them. (Some are even available for free!) So whether you're planning a Center Stage party, in need of a Mikhail Baryshnikov fix or have yet to see The Red Shoes, get ready for some serious ballet binging.

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Ballet Stars

Last week American Ballet Theatre principal Gillian Murphy danced the iconic dual role of Odette/Odile as part of the company's spring season. In preparation for the performance she posted an adorable photo from her childhood on Instagram of her posing in costume as the Black Swan. Murphy also admits that as a young dancer she was determined to master the 32 fouettés, which Odile performs at the climax of the Black Swan pas de deux. Her performance in this clip from a 2005 performance, alongside former ABT principal Angel Corella as Siegfried, makes it obvious as to why this childhood dream role is now one of her signatures.

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Just for fun
Including, of course, Center Stage (Screenshot via Vimeo)

Dance in movies is a trend as old as time. Movies like The Red Shoes and Singin' in the Rain paved the way for Black Swan and La La Land; dancing stars like Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers led the way for Channing Tatum and Julianne Hough.

Lucky for us, some of Hollywood's most incredible dance scenes have been compiled into this amazing montage, featuring close to 300 films in only seven minutes. So grab the popcorn, cozy on up, and watch the moves that made the movies.

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Just for fun
Including, of course, Center Stage (Screenshot via Vimeo)

Dance in movies is a trend as old as time. Movies like The Red Shoes and Singin' in the Rain paved the way for Black Swan and La La Land; dancing stars like Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers led the way for Channing Tatum and Julianne Hough.

Lucky for us, some of Hollywood's most incredible dance scenes have been compiled into this amazing montage, featuring close to 300 films in only seven minutes. So grab the popcorn, cozy on up, and watch the moves that made the movies.

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Trending
via Instagram

Every ballerina grows up aspiring to nail the fouetté turns in the coda of Swan Lake's Black Swan Pas de Deux. From classic primas like Natalia Makarova to current pros like Gillian Murphy, the 32-fouetté sequence has become so iconic that even our non-dancer friends know about the tricky turns. But yesterday, American Ballet Theatre principal Christine Shevchenko introduced us to a totally new take on the fouettés that we've been watching on a loop, in awe.


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News
Photo via James Bort

Set to begin shooting in early 2018, Millepied's Carmen will be a modern-day retelling, setting the protagonist on a journey from Mexico to Los Angeles in pursuit of freedom. The film, described as a contemporary musical drama, will also feature an original score by Nicholas Britell, the Oscar-nominated composer of Moonlight. “The incorporation of music and drama in film is a cornerstone of my creativity and having such an experienced and talented team by my side gives me confidence that we will beautifully capture the story told in Carmen," Milliepied told Variety.

Carmen has had a long trajectory. Bizet's 1875 opera—which tells the doomed love story of a passionate Romani woman named Carmen and the naïve soldier Don José (whom she seduces and then leaves for a glamorous toreador)—is based off of Prosper Mérimée's 1845 novella. Upwards of 20 films have been made based on the story, as well as several ballets, most notably those by choreographers Roland Petit and Alberto Alonso. Only time will tell how Millepied will add his own contemporary take to this classic story.

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Swan Lake's Black Swan pas de deux may be a chance for stars' technique to shine, but it's the acting—Odile's wicked seduction of the blindly loving Siegfried—that gives me chills. In this clip from a 2004 recording of La Scala Ballet, Svetlana Zakharova finds fresh moments in Vladimir Bourmeister's 1953 choreography to bewitch Roberto Bolle—and her audience. She undulates her arms and unfurls her legs delicately, mimicking Odette's graceful wings, then entices him by crisply rebuffing her prince's offered attentions. Did you shiver when she flicked her wrists and widened her eyes piercingly in her variation preparation? Bolle, meanwhile, dances with incredible fluidity. His open, easy carriage reveals both the dancer's seasoned strength and his character's vulnerability.

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The Black Swan trailer is out! Even though there are some beautiful dancing shots, this obviously is not your typical ballet movie. Take a peek at the trailer to see for yourself.

 

And stay tuned for more about the movie in Pointe's December/January issue—we went behind the scenes during a day of filming to get the inside scoop from the dancers, cast and crew. Blood, groping and the funky chicken were only a few of the highlights from the scene on set. 

One of the things we love most about Black Swan is that it gets all the little details right--down to the practice clothes. Nina and Lily's refined leotards are exactly the sort of chic, understated pieces real ballerinas would wear. That's unsurprising, given that dancewear superstar Yumiko designed the leos especially for stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.

Now you can own the very same designs that turned heads in the film: Russian Pointe is currently selling the Limited Edition Black Swan collection from Yumiko. You'll even receive a free Black Swan movie poster (while supplies last) when you purchase any of the three gorgeous leos. But act quickly--quantities are very limited!

Set the DVR: There's a new ballet drama coming to TV. It basically sounds like a serialized version of "Black Swan": The project, described in The Hollywood Reporter as "dark and gritty," will follow a young female ballet dancer with a troubled past who joins a ballet company in New York City. The show promises to "explore the dysfunctional underbelly of the ballet world." Sound familiar?

 

There's hope yet. The show will be produced by Lawrence Bender (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill), Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad) and Kevin Brown (Roswell), all of whom have legit ties to the ballet world. Bender and Walley-Beckett were both former dancers themselves, and Brown comes from the same family as American Ballet Theatre stars Ethan Brown and Leslie Browne. Stay tuned for details about casting.

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At 92, Cuban prima ballerina Alicia Alonso is a living legend. Now director of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, she had a brilliant dancing career despite being partially blind from the age of 19. Here she is (with the none-too-shabby Azari Plisetsky) in excerpts from the Black Swan pas de deux—showing off, among other things, her prodigious turning ability. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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