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Why Dance?
Why Dance
Actors: Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, Carina Brown, Karen Brown, Sandy Brown, Ashley Canterna
Director: James Manning
Genres: Documentary
NR     2005     1hr 52min

Why Dance? is an in-depth, behind the scenes look at the world of dance. — It examines what attracts so many to this wondrous art form including young — students, former ballerina's, current dancers, competitors, judges, art...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, Carina Brown, Karen Brown, Sandy Brown, Ashley Canterna
Director: James Manning
Creators: James Manning, Jim Manning, Shely Pack
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Documentary
Studio: James E. Manning Inc
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 06/27/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 52min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

An Excellent Look Into What Motivates Students Of Ballet.
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 03/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very new ballet documentary with many interviews of students and parents on the joys and sacrifices of dancing ballet. There are many fine scenes of dance routines and the technical proficiency of these dancers is very impressive, indeed. Such is the state of ballet in the 21st century! Several aspects are covered, such as training, family support(or the lack of it), competition, injuries, and eating disorders. This is certainly long enough(almost two hours), but my only criticism is that in many of the interviews we see the person seated in a chair for almost the entire segment, instead of having them talk over scenes of dancing. As a ballet dancer myself, when people start to talk about dancing, I want to see dancing while I listen to them(or else I feel the need to get up and dance myself!). There certainly should have been enough of available footage for this. As it is, it is still an excellent, American look at ballet."
A great answer to a simple question
Mr. Sean Martinfield | San Francisco, CA | 04/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"San Francisco Bay Area filmmaker James E. Manning and co-producer Shely Pack have created an extraordinary look into what inspires kids to pursue the fantastical world of dance and why it can drive some parents totally nuts. Why Dance is a simple question that gets answered in simple cinematic terms. Focusing on the subject of Ballet, Manning aims his camera straight at the creators of this magnificent art form - its dancers, directors, choreographers and coaches. Manning pushes through the illusions, beyond the stage scenery, and demands more than a conventional response. His 6-chapter documentary is a finely-tuned balance of keynote questions, edgy concerns, light and humorous insights, unhesitating honesty and vigorous imagery. His guests are long-careered world class dancers and choreographers, multi-talented judges and coaches, young prodigies from established companies and neighborhood studios, and a set of still-amazed parents suddenly yanked into social change, daunting challenges, stupefying commitments, and finally - blessed acceptance. Within this nearly 2-hour presentation are the blistering facts about physical training, pain and tolerance of pain, pirates and pirouettes, to eat or not to eat, trophies and tutus, tights and toe shoes.

As director, editor, narrator, and composer of the film's incidental music, James E. Manning demonstrates a sharp sense of style, rhythm and timing. The overall tone of Why Dance is warm and inviting, his expert storytellers are engaging and persuasive. Personal anecdotes are bolstered with footage of class work-outs, dress rehearsals and a competition dance routine. Manning's editing is like fine choreography - the separate transitions flow together gracefully with ease and purpose.

Why Dance is the perfect gift for the family with that special child who begins moving whenever music is in the air. This documentary merits a spot in every library in every neighborhood and in every school. As the Fine Arts Critic for The San Francisco Sentinel, it is my privilege to cover San Francisco Ballet. The Company attracts and employs the best dancers in the world. Each dancer started in a class with other kids who were probably bouncing off the walls and using common hallways as personal runways. They all know the answer to - Why Dance?

By Seán Martinfield
San Francisco, CA
The title promised too much
Frequent Customer | 04/21/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I was looking for more personal accounts from a wider variety of student dancers, retired dancers, professional dancers. Somehow, I find that there could've been a better set of interviewees than the ones in this video. Video has several moments where I wished they would just move on to the next thing to talk about."