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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:

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If you're making your weekend plans, you may want to clear your calendar for Sunday and check your local movie listings. On May 19, Fathom Events, in partnership with Pathé Live and By Experience, is broadcasting the Bolshoi Ballet's performance of Carmen Suite and Petrushka throughout cinemas nationwide. The program will be captured live the same day from Moscow, and feature some of the Bolshoi's biggest stars.

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Svetlana Zakharova in Swan Lake. Photo by Damir Yusupov, Courtesy Bolshoi Theatre.

If you know ballet, you know the name Svetlana Zakharova. She's ballet royalty. Zakharova's incredible natural facility, paired with her technical precision and emotive finesse, have stunned audiences for more than two decades. She's danced with many of the world's most prestigious ballet companies, including the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi, where she's currently a principal.

We interviewed the iconic ballerina to find out who's influenced her dancing—and what advice she'd give her teenage self.

You're known as being one of the best technical dancers of a generation. How do you balance your technicality with your artistry?

During the performance everything has to be controlled technique and emotions, so I work endlessly on technique and artistry during my rehearsals. I'm trying to get my technique to a level so that it won't be an obstacle for me during the performance, and then I can direct my focus on the artistry. I want the technique to come automatically, so that I can be in full character during a performance.

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Sergei Polunin and Svetlana Zakharova in "Giselle." Photo Courtesy Fathom Events.

We've been seeing a lot of Sergei Polunin on the big screen lately, between last fall's Murder on the Orient Express and the recent spy-thriller Red Sparrow. But on Sunday, April 8, we'll have a chance to see him in full dancer mode again—alongside Bolshoi ballerina Svetlana Zakharova, no less! The pair will headline in Giselle, part of this season's Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Series. Fathom Events, By Experience and Pathé Live will partner to broadcast the 2015 Bolshoi performance, which featured Polunin as a guest artist, to movie theaters nationwide. It's a rare opportunity to see these two ballet mega-stars dancing together. Click here to find theaters, showtimes and tickets near you. Can't wait 'til Sunday? Check out the sneak preview below.

Zakharova in "Swan Lake." Photo by B. Stoess, Courtesy Bolshoi.

Mark your calendars! This Sunday, the Bolshoi Ballet, in partnership with Fathom Events, kicks off its 2016-17 Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Series. Between now and April, seven Bolshoi productions will be high-beamed to movie theaters around the world (400 in the U.S. alone), giving ballet lovers a chance to see the legendary company on the big screen.

In addition to standard classics like The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, this season is book-ended by two uniquely Russian ballets not performed by other companies, starting with Yuri Grigorovich's The Golden Age on October 16. Set in a cabaret during the Roaring 20s, The Golden Age is a Soviet love story between Boris, a young fisherman, and Rita, a dancer with connections to a local gangster. Yuri Possokhov's A Hero of Our Time, based on the great Russian literary classic of the same name, closes out the season in April.

In an exclusive interview, Pointe spoke with Bolshoi prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova about what it's like to perform for the camera.

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Ah, the Olympic ceremonies: When athletes of the world parade with their flags into the international spotlight, when host countries pay tribute to their cultural heritages and when I (without fail) tear up at the beauty of it all. Ballet doesn't usually play into the Olympic mix as a sport, but the opening and closing ceremonies are a different story. Case in point(e): Sochi, Russia in 2014 and London in 2012.

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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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Zakharova in Yuri Possokhov's Cinderella. Photo by Marc Haegeman.

You’re coming back from maternity leave. How does it feel?

It’s not easy! But as soon as I stepped back in the studio, I told myself: Svetlana, you have time to get back in shape. There used to be days when, if something went wrong in class, I wouldn’t leave until I got it right. I tried to take it easier this time.

What are the pluses—and minuses—of being a tall dancer?

Long lines, long hands I think are very beautiful. But it can be difficult to find a partner. I often have to decline offers to dance abroad because the partner wouldn’t suit me heightwise.

You always change a detail of your costume to make it yours. Why?

It’s great to have something that no one else has. Whenever possible, I like to work with costume designers, because they know how to tailor a costume to my body, how to emphasize my personality and also how to hide some things.

Who is your toughest critic?

My mom. She attends most of my performances, and if she likes something, it means it really was good.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

I stretch a bit for my back, my legs. And now, of course, I check how my daughter, Anna, is doing. She is usually also “stretching” in her sleep, but for different reasons!

What’s your biggest indulgence?

Taking a day off when I’m really exhausted. I’ll cancel class, rehearsals, and just rest.

You’re a member of parliament in Russia. What does that bring you?

It broadens my horizons because ballet is a very closed world. It allows me to be more in touch with what’s happening in Russia and abroad, and if people come to talk to me about their problems, I try to help them as much as I can.

Of which accomplishment are you the most proud?

I still see mistakes every day in the mirror, so I’m only really proud of the birth of my daughter. It’s my biggest achievement.

We have to hand it to the Russians. Olympic opening ceremonies are always brilliant spectacles, but rarely do they involve appearances by world-class ballet dancers.

Last Friday night, the Sochi opening ceremony offered a smorgasbord of rich, theatrical images, many of them created by Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark choreographer Daniel Ezralow. But the highlights for us bunheads were appearances by Russian ballet sensations Svetlana Zakharova, Ivan Vasiliev and Diana Vishneva.

Zakharova and Vasiliev showed us the more traditional side of ballet in a recreation of a ballroom scene from Tolstoy's War and Peace. (Vasiliev's ever-insane jumps drew big cheers from the crowd.) Vishneva went in another direction: Her pointe-shoe-less segment appeared to be inspired by F.L.O.W., the work Momix's Moses Pendleton choreographed for her "Beauty in Motion" program a few years ago. The original solo featured Vishneva twirling while wearing a cape of shimmering strands of beads. The opening ceremonies adaptation included a whole flock of dancers outfitted in these capes—Vishneva in the lead, of course—as music from Swan Lake played. While the effect wasn't exactly swan-like, it was totally mesmerizing.

Miss the broadcast, or just want to relive the magic? Click here for photos from the ceremony.

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These days, we know Svetlana Zakharova as an international ballet superstar. As a young student at St. Petersburg's prestigious Vaganova Academy, however, she was...well, still a superstar, just on a slightly smaller scale. Here are some excerpts from her graduation exam in 1996. You'll probably pick her out right away, but just in case: She's on the left in the first clip. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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