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Balanchine
Balanchine
Actor: George Balanchine
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2004     2hr 36min

As seen on public television. Regarded as the "father of American ballet," George Balanchine's legacy lives on in his prolific body of choreographic work. Creating over 450 works, Balanchine is, arguably, the foremost cont...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actor: George Balanchine
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Dance, Educational, Classical, Ballet & Dance, Biography
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 02/17/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 03/23/2009
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 2hr 36min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Lovely tribute to the great choreographer
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 09/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This dvd, originally seen on PBS, is a great tribute to the Russian-born choreographer George Balanchine, who founded the New York City Ballet and is often creditted with bringing classical ballet to the United States. This documentary focuses almost exclusively on his professional and artistic life, and this is right and proper. There are books, as well as several documentaries ("Dancing for Mr. B," "Elusive Muse") which focus on Balanchine's complicated personal life. Here, we can just look at his great artistic creations.
There;s archival footage of so many great ballerinas and ballet dancers that were Mr. B's inspiration. Tanaquiel le Clercq (who judging from the footage may have been the most beautiful ballerina to ever step onstage), Diana Adams, Maria Tallchief, Edward Villela, Allegra Kent, Suzanne Farrell, Peter Martins, Patricia McBride ... None of the dancers are interviewed, perhaps because of time constraints. But just the footage of the dancing was enough to keep me happy. I was struck by Mr. B's diversity -- there are many clips of his ballets, and it's a testament to Mr. B's genius that I was always upset when the clips ended, because I wanted to see more.
There are also several interviews with Mr. B. His soft, gentle voice and almost childlike enthusiasm are infectious. Particularly amusing are the clips of him and Igor Stravinsky, the composer whose music whom Mr. B set so many of his best ballets (Rubies, Apollo, Agon et al.) Mr. B talks about his love of cats and cooking. So even though the documentary focuses squarely on the artistic, these interviews with Mr. B humanize him. Read the various memoirs and autobiographies for Mr. B's darker, more complex side: he was famously possessive of his ballerinas, and did not think they should have families or even personal lives apart from him. This video focuses purely on Balanchine as a creative artist.
Recently, more extensive dvd's have been released of Mr. B's complete ballets. But this documentary is still a must-see, a wonderful tribute to one of the 20th century's most prolific and remarkable artists."
Completely impersonal biography
Hans Hansen | Copenhagen, Denmark | 01/22/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I've never seen a biography that contained less personal information about its subject. This DVD, for example, never mentions Balanchine's marriages to the dancers Maria Tallchief and Tanquil leClerc, or his obsession with the forty-years-younger Suzanne Farrell. These relationships are important for more than just gossipy reasons - all three women had a significant effect on his work. There are some good performance clips on the DVD, but the selection is oddly biased: lots and lots of Peter Martins, but never a glimpse of Edward Villella. A fine "starter CD" for those just learning about Balanchine, but frustrating for fans."
A good introduction to Balanchine's work
Paula L. Craig | Falls Church, VA United States | 02/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Since I knew little about either the life or the work of Balanchine, I really enjoyed this documentary. I had no idea he was so instrumental in bringing ballet to the United States. My main complaint was that the film was too short. We found out almost nothing about the dancers Balanchine worked with, and we saw only snippets of the ballets. I thought it particularly odd that although Suzanne Farrell appeared in dozens of clips, more than any other ballerina, nothing at all was said about her."
WONDERFUL
Ballet lover | Chicago, IL | 06/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Tons of rare and wonderful dance footage from his ballets spanning four decades and featuring many of his greatest dancers, primarily Suzanne Farrell, his queen. Fascinating, tons of info and beautiful music, definetly an interesting watch even if you're not a ballet fan. Many of Balanchine's dancers are featured in ballets throughout, but none of them are interviewed except Balanchine himself. Instead, the focus is more on the ballets themselves by the narrator. I'm assuming no other interviews besides Balanchine were added because of time limit, but I would have been interested to hear what his dancers had to say about him and their dancing, or how certain dancers inspired him and why, especially his favorite and most impassioned ballerina, Suzanne Farrell. Though there was extensive dance footage of Farrell throughout, I would have loved it if they had interviewed her too (but you can read her book or see her documentary, etc.) and perhaps some other dancers as well. But aside from the lack of dancer interviews, this movie is without question an abolute MUST SEE for fans of Balanchine, ballet, or art lovers in general."