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Plisetskaya Dances / A Documentary on Maya Plisetskaya
Plisetskaya Dances / A Documentary on Maya Plisetskaya
Actors: Dmitri Begak, Vladimir Vasiliev, Maris Liepa
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2004     1hr 10min


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Movie Details

Actors: Dmitri Begak, Vladimir Vasiliev, Maris Liepa
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Dance, Educational, Classical, Ballet & Dance, Biography
Studio: Video Artists Int'l
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color
DVD Release Date: 01/20/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 04/05/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 10min
Screens: Black and White,Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Extraordinary clips of Maya Plisetskaya in her great roles
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 10/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Maya Plisetskaya is one of those ballerinas that I call a "force of nature" in the best sense of the word. Whereas other ballerinas are conventionally pretty in a dainty, heart-shaped-face way, Maya with her piercing eyes and red hair is striking, regal and charismatic. This documentary is a remarkable collection of Plisetskaya in archival footage of her greatest roles. In all the clips, the strength of Plisetskaya's personality is at times overwhelming. Besides the warhorses like Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet, there are also clips of rarer ballets like Raymonda and The Stone Flower.
My favorite clip is Maya Plisetskaya dancing her trademark "Dying Swan." Other pieces allow Maya to show off her remarkable athletic ability (most notably as Kitri, where she achieves the seemingly impossible and kicks the back of her head in grande jetes). But the Dying Swan allows Maya to show off her still-unequalled boneless arms. The way her arms just seem to flutter like wings is something I've seen every ballerina try; no one can quite equal the amazing Maya. In a wonderful interview Maya Plisetskaya demonstrates how she uses her arms to the greatest effect, and watching the prima ballerina casually dressed in a black turtleneck flutter her arms like a bird is one of the best parts of the documentary. There's also interesting footage of Maya in dance class -- note how she takes classes with the men! In fact, one of Maya's most amazing qualities is her androgynous style -- she lacks the delicacy of Galina Ulanova or Margot Fonteyn, but seems to drip athleticism and charisma down to her long fingertips.
Maya's autobiography talks a lot about her personal struggles in the old Soviet Union. This video focuses more on her professional life. There are some rather cheesy shots of Maya in "everyday life" -- at a soccer game, in Venice, at home answering fanmail. But it is nice to see how even offstage, Maya seems to move with unbelievable grace and style.
A dynamo
Miss George | UK | 04/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Her Kitri in the Don Quixote excerpts is absolutely amazing. Why is there no DVD of the full-length production available?"
A Glimpse
tamiii | San Juan Capistrano, Ca. United States | 02/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The only problem with seeing dancing like this is that it may intimidate others from even trying. How ironic are the subtle ways of the makers of this documentary trying to enhance what was already magnificent--whether by altered film speeds, edits, or particular lighting, as if the truth did not speak for itself. Produced as a piece of Soviet propaganda, touting Russian accomplishments during the Cold War, the makers of this documentary simply couldn't chance that you would not see what you, dear viewer, no doubt can--an extraordinary dancer. As it is, today these defects are merely amusing. May future dancers simply be inspired."
Akela | Russia | 09/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw Plisetskaya dance Carmen in Moscow in the 70s - she was much more than just a prima ballerina, she was a force of nature, a tornado, an earthquake. She was also a very smart and intelligent professional - she knew better than anybody else that lyrical roles were not her forte and she never tried to be anything else than her volcanic explosive self.

This DVD contains several fragments of her theater roles, a whole performance of her famous "Dying Swan" and several rather long interview moments. Translation from Russian is quite good and the additional "bonus" is that you can still hear her precise controled voice and see how that tight control is mirrored in her incredible poise. The final fragments from Don Quijote - the only ones that are in existence - still make me gasp and shiver when she literally explodes onto the scene and makes it impossible to see anything else except her capricious, proud, bitty Kitty. It is impossible to compare her to anyone, it is as if she curves the space around herself into a vortex and becomes a whirling pulsing center of everything on the scene.

My eternal regret is that Soviet Union never thought to make several full length TV or movie recordings of her best roles, it is such a waste. Ballet lovers might wait at least another century to see another chance of such a combination of nuclear temperament and fantastic skill.

It is a sad irony that this documentary can be purchased at Amazon but is totally impossible to buy in Russia. I suspect that there are hundreds or even thousands of such treasures from the 60s and 70s slowly desintegrating somewhere in the archives of the State Fund of Cinematography...what a waste..."