The Grit and The Glamour

Whether you're training in an elite academy, a wealthy suburban conservatory or a studio in the middle of Rio de Janiero's dirt poor favelas, the path to becoming a professional dancer is never easy.

 

A new ballet documentary, Only When I Dance, presented by Film Movement, follows Isobela and Irlan, two talented teenage ballet dancers from Rio as they sacrifice everything to make it in the ballet world. Much of the drama, such as the pain of injury, being told to lose weight, giving up any semblence of "normal teenage life" and the despair of rejection, is something any ballet dancer can relate to. But for these two students, the stakes are even higher, as joining a company is their only opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their families.

 

The camera follows them to the Prix de Lausanne and YAGP, capturing the anxiety, the giddiness and the anguish of competitions. The story of the exceptionally talented Irlan contrasts sharply with the story of Isobela, who's very good, but just doesn't have that "wow" factor. There's great backstage and performance footage that shows what goes on behind the scenes and carries you right along on their emotional journey.

 

Only When I Dance will be released in New York on July 2, with a limited national theatrical release to follow. It is in Portugese, with English subtitles, and runs 78 minutes. See http://onlywhenidancemovie.blogspot.com/ or www.filmmovement.com/filmcatalog/index.asp?MerchandiseID=227

Latest Posts


Pacific Northwest Ballet's Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan, photographed by Jayme Thornton for Pointe

The Radiant Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan: Why She's One to Watch at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Hollywood could make a movie about Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan's big break at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

It was November 2017, and the company was performing Crystal Pite's film-noir–inspired Plot Point, set to music by Bernard Hermann from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Ryan, then a first-year corps member, originally was understudying the role of another dancer. But when principal Noelani Pantastico was injured in a car accident, Ryan was tapped to take over her role.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Maria Alexandrova, Maria Allash and Yevgeny Ivanchenko in "Swan Lake"

While not nearly as common as the pas de deux, the pas de trois is a frequent feature in classical ballets that poses its own unique challenges. The seamless braiding of three dancers, in which all can equally shine, is no easy feat. In this clip from 2002, the Bolshoi Ballet stars Maria Alexandrova and Maria Allash and Mariinsky Ballet principal Yevgeny Ivanchenko, achieve that synergy in this sumptuous pas de trois from Act I of Swan Lake.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Yonah Acosta in Sin La Habana, Courtesy Miami Film Festival

The Miami Film Festival Is Streaming 2 Films Spotlighting Cuban Ballet Dancers, Including Yonah Acosta

Many ballet companies are sharing digital productions these days, but if you want to get your ballet fix on the silver screen, the Miami Film Festival has something for you—and you don't have to fly to Miami to see it! Two ballet-centric films, the drama Sin La Habana (Without Havana) and documentary Cuban Dancer, will be featured in theaters and virtually at the 38th annual Miami Film Festival, running March 5 to 14.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks