Earlier this week, Vanity Fair dropped a gift into our laps. The magazine released a 25-minute long YouTube video of Julie Kent reviewing ballet scenes from 60 years of feature films, spanning from 1948's The Red Shoes to 2018's The White Crow. While she certainly isn't the first pro to give her take on dance in film (we're still not over Isabella Boylston's hilarious recap from last year), as the longest-serving ballerina in American Ballet Theatre's history Kent is able to offer an unprecedented amount of insight into each scene... never mind that she herself stars in one (ahem, Center Stage).
Some of our favorite tidbits from the video include the fact that Kent was actually a consultant on Black Swan. She talks about working in the studio in pre-production with director Darren Aronofsky to help him understand the progression of the dual roles of Odette/Odile. For inspiration, Aronofsky even watched a performance of Kent in Swan Lake with ABT from backstage. We also love that Kent gives her former colleague Sarah Lane her due as Natalie Portman's dance double (a controversy we're honestly still not really over).
When talking about The Red Shoes, Kent describes the cast of the seminal film, which included Moira Shearer, Léonide Massine and Sir Robert Helpmann, as the ballet stars of the day. She compares them to today's Misty Copeland, James Whiteside, Isabella Boylston and David Hallberg. Now that's a remake we'd give anything to see!
For all you Center Stage superfans, Kent describes the process of shooting the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene with Ethan Stiefel, and even tears up talking about the importance of the role of Juliet in her career. She dives into detail on the famous kiss, reminiscing on how young ABT dancers used to run into the downstage wings to watch their favorite stars smooch.
Kent also delves into some criticism, such as pointing out that Julia Stile's character's boyfriend in Save the Last Dance would certainly not be allowed in the wings during her Juilliard audition, or that the young girls in Billy Elliot's ballet class would not show up to the studio each day in white tutus. She also points out what's changed in the ballet world since its salacious portrayal in The Turning Point, discussing the ongoing fight for respect for artists, and tying it into the #MeToo movement.
So don't wait; watch the full video below. And like Kent, we can't wait to see what the next 60 years of dance on film will bring.