This DANCE IN AMERICA performance/documentary explores the lives of the ABT's four lead male dancers: Cuba's Jose Manual Carreno, Spain's Angel Corella, Ukraine's Vladimir Malakhov, and the U.S.'s Ethan Stiefel. Concludes ... more »with the four dancers performing.« less
"I must admit to some disappointment in this DVD; not because of the quality of the content but rather the content itself. Also, this disc is short, very short...only 54 minutes in factThis DVD features four of the male stars of todays American Ballet Theatre: That being, Jose Manuel Carreno (Cuba), Angel Corella (Spain), Vladimir Malakhov (Russia) and Ethan Stiefel (USA).I'd expected some extended video of each of the dancers actually dancing, but instead the bulk of the video is more of less a mini biography of each of the dancers with brief snippets of each of them from previous shows they were in. There is also an extended section showing them rehearsing a dance, a pas de quatre, danced to Scubert's piano quintet; the finished work is about 7 minutes long and shown at the very end of the disc. This was well done and performed before a live audience.I think the highlight of this disc, to me, was a short segment of each of them on a trampoline, with a single photograph frame capturing some spectacular aerial pose at the apex of their leaps. Unbelievable height and agility.All in all, not quite what I expected when I purchased this DVD. That is not to say that I didn't enjoy it, I did, (getting some insight on the lives of these fabulously talented individual was very interesting, but it's just not something that I'd probably watch more than once. And watching some of my favorite choreographed dances is something that I do watch on a regular and repeated basis."
Charles S. Houser | Binghamton, NY | 06/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"American Ballet Theatre director Kenneth McKenzie (a former dancer himself) knows how to find, encourage, and showcase great male dancers. The four featured here are a diverse group from the current crop of principals. McKenzie seems to look to Spain and Latin America for a certain kind of fiery performer (Angel Corella from Spain and Jose Manuel Carreno from Cuba represent this group here). Russians, who once dominated the ballet stage, are represented here by Vladimir Malakhov (from the Ukraine). Ethan Stiefel (the heart-breaker star of ballet-pic "Center Stage") is the sole American.This film is a documentary with a short dance performance appendix. Each dancer is filmed on his home turf and speaks about the importance of his family and country of origin. Nothing too revealing here. Short clips from auditions and key roles do give the viewer a sense of the unique performance styles of each of these dancers. The dance "appendix" is a short work choreographed by Mark Morris to a Schumann piano quintet (mercifully, not to the rock standard "Born to Be Wild").The only annoying thing about this short film is that it seems to feel the need to defend the masculinity of male dancers. Didn't Edward Villella address that issue once and for all in "Prodigal Son"? My advice is to ignore the rhetoric and just enjoy the great dancing!"
J. E. Castor | PA USA | 03/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Born to Be Wild documents the lives and work of four American Ballet Theatre dancers: Angel Corella, Vladimir Malakov, Hose Manuel Carreno, and Ethan Steifel. Four different men from four different backgrounds...Watch how the beauty and thrill of ballet brought them all to the same place: American Ballet Theatre, one of the world's greatest ballet companies. Woven among the riveting stories of how they became some of the best male dancers in the world are clips of their phenomenal dancing at various points in their careers. At the end, you're treated to their performance of a dance specially commissioned for the documentary! If you already are a ballet fan, don't miss this! If you aren't, watch it and be prepared to be hooked! This documentary is sure to really change what many people think of ballet!"
Short...but, oh, so sweet!
Charles S. Houser | 04/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a really terrific, if somewhat short, documentary that contains some of the finest classical male dancing I've seen in a long while. All four dancers (Corella, Carreño, Stiefel and Malakhov) are nothing short of inspired artists and their fun and sincere regard of the ballet world is most refreshing. Here we have the elegant, yet masculine legs and feet of Carreño and Stiefel (not unlike Bujones and Nagy, respectively), the innate Russian fire and discipline of Malakhov and the unbridled passion and visceral excitement of a young Baryshnikov in Corella. Ballet is, more often than not, viewed by the masses as a lofty and unapproachable art form, best suited to high society and their ilk, but here we see what appear to be average men, all from seemingly humble backgrounds, and in the span of 54 minutes wholly revamp that staid and tired image. But the most fantastic aspect of it all, is that though their attitude towards classical dance is quite grounded, they never once cheapen the art form; never resort to the vulgar and crass just to make ballet an approachable form of entertainment. The same can be said for Mark Morris whose work, a playful and intricate piece for all four dancers closes out the program. It has been a long time since ABT had such an embarrassment of riches with regards to male principal dancers and their legacy shall, no doubt, be present for years to come. One final note: This documentary was so well paced and downright entertaining that a friend of mine (not at all a ballet fan) asked to see it again the following day."
J. E. Castor | 02/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I could not stop watching BORN TO BE WILD. Even if you do not enjoy ballet, you will love this program. Beautifully shot and well-written, this strong production takes viewers to Spain, Russia, Cuba and Wisconsin to catch a glimpse of each dancer in his home environment. Their stories are unique and to watch them perform throughout the program is a great delight. I absolutely loved the show."