You may have already watched David LaChapelle’s video of Ukrainian dancer Sergei Polunin’s cover of Hozier’s “Take me to Church”
or Mikhail Baryshnikov & Lil Buck in the Rag & Bone fashion shoot,
or more recently, Maori performing arts group Tāreikura’s poi dancing on Beyoncé’s “Move your Body” videos. These are three examples of dance videos that went viral online.
For more Dance news, follow the excellent Guardian Dance blog.
You may have also been to one of our Central Library’s Tales from the Ballet sessions with Royal New Zealand Ballet legend Sir Jon Trimmer.
If you haven’t yet, come to this Saturday morning’s session at the Central Library or head to Karori, Kilbirnie or Johnsonville library next week for a chance to learn about ballet steps and positions – and to try them out – explore the art of mime and gesture, and hear some of the wonderful stories of the world’s greatest ballets, from an icon of New Zealand dance who has performed them all.
Inspired? You may want to head to the New Zealand School of Dance Open Day on Saturday 25 July and Sunday 26 July 2015 at 10am.
Developed a dance addiction yet? To delve further into the fascinating world of dance, check out our extensive DVD collection of dance movies of all genres, documentaries about dance and dance performers and our music DVDs of famous ballets and dance musicals. These films will make you want to move, beating the winter chill in the process.
Life in motion : an unlikely ballerina – Misty Copeland
“As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground breaking ballerina.” (Cover)
This documentary is particularly timely as Misty Copeland just became the first African-American woman to be named a Principal in the 75-year history of American Ballet Theater.
Budding stars of the Paris Opera ballet
“The Paris Opera Ballet School, established 300 years ago, is a legendary place, with an international reputation. It is the most famous dance school in the world, where the greatest “ťoiles” or principal dancers are trained. In September 2011 it was home to 130 students, aged from 8 to 18, all driven by the same desire – to dance one day at the Paris Opera. A film crew was allowed to accompany them for a whole school year and this six-part series chronicles their busy training schedule and their day to day experiences. There is no assurance that all the students will return the following year to dance alongside the stars they dream of. As well as adjusting to living away from their families, to remain in the school they must also learn to deal with criticism, adhere to strict requirements and discipline, and learn personal responsibility.” (Cover)
Mao’s last dancer
“Drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet.”(Syndetics)
La danse, the Paris Opera ballet
“Follows the rehearsals and performances of seven ballets: Genus by Wayne McGregor, Medea by Angelin Preljocaj, The House of Bernarda Alba by Mats Ek, Paquita by Pierre Lacotte, The Nutcracker by Rudolph Nureyev, Orpheus and Eurydice by Pina Bausch, and Romeo and Juliet by Sasha Waltz. The film shows the work involved in administering the company and the coordinated and collaborative work of choreographers, ballet masters, dancers, musicians, and costume, set, and lighting designers.” (Syndetics)
This film written, directed and produced by Wim Wenders depicts the life and work of Pina Bausch, dancer and choreographer, who died in 2009 which features some of her greatest choreographies as performed by her Tanztheater Wuppertal ensemble. (Adapted from Syndetics)
“First Position follows the inspirational footsteps of a group of young talented ballet dancers aged nine to sixteen as they struggle to maintain form in the face of injury and personal sacrifice on their way to one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world: the Youth America Grand Prix. Lifelong dreams are at stake, with hundreds of dancers from around the globe travelling to New York each year, competing for a handful of elite scholarships and contracts. Practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected. Struggling through bruised feet and near exhaustion all while navigating the drama of adolescence and family life, First Position combines built-in drama, tension and suspense with exciting and beautifully shot performances. With the diversity of each dancer’s backstory coupled with a showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, First Position recalls documentaries such as Spellbound in painting a thrilling and moving portrait.” (Fishpond)
Rudolf Nureyev: a brilliant life
“Born on the Trans-Siberian express train, Rudolf Nureyev never stopped moving in his meteoric rise to become the most brightly shining star of the ballet universe. From commanding the stage of the Paris Opera to cavorting with Miss Piggy on the Muppet Show, Nureyev’s charisma and virtuoso talent brought a new, modern dimension to classical dance. This film takes a retrospective look at the great artist, his life and his body of work – in all its grace, passion, excess and drama. Through interviews, archive footage, re-enactments and original dance sequences, the film will recreate the key moments of Nureyev’s life and shine a light on his unparalleled talent.” (Syndetics)
Giselle : the movie
“GISELLE is acclaimed director Toa Fraser’s interpretation of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s production of Giselle. The classic story of love, erotism and death has been reinterpreted by Fraser to include both the on stage performance of the ballet, and an off-stage romance – interwoven with the ballet – that tells of two itinerant dancers, separated by time, distance and their abiding love for each other.”(Syndetics)
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping beauty
“Choreographer Matthew Bourne returns to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks. Bourne sets the Christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballet’s first performance: the height of the Fin de siècle period when fairies, vampires, and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination. Years later, awakening from her century-long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day; a world more mysterious and wonderful than any fairy story.”(Syndtics)
“Nina is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company. Her life, like most in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her mother Erica, a former ballerina who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: new dancer Lily, who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side – a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.”(Syndetics) A chilling thriller set in the world of ballet that won Natalie Portman an Oscar for her portrayal of Nina Sayers.
La Tropical: the best dance hall in the world
“In a remote barrio of Havana, the Salon Rosado at La Tropical is the club where generations of working-class Cuban’s of color have always gathered to dance, sing, and live la vida loco. From midnight to dawn, hundreds of men and women, young and old, pack the open-air dance floor and moce as one to the nonstop rhythms of the hottest bands on the island.” (Syndetics)
Mad hot ballroom
“Eleven-year-old New York City public school kids journey into the world of ballroom dancing and reveal pieces of themselves and their world along the way. Told from their candid, sometimes hilarious perspectives, these kids are transformed, from reluctant participants to determined competitors, from typical urban kids to “ladies and gentlemen,” on their way to try to compete in the final citywide competition. Providing unique insight into the incredible cultural diversity that is New York City, this film profiles several kids from three schools (out of 60) at this dynamic age, when becoming that “cool” teenager vies for position with familiar innocence, while they learn the merengue, rumba, tango, the foxtrot and swing.” (Syndetics)
Save the last dance 2
“Continuing the story of the original film, Sara follows her dream and becomes a student at Juilliard. As she excels and becomes a star pupil, but becomes torn between her love for traditional ballet and her passion for the urban street rhythms of hip-hop, complicated further by her new love, hip-hop musician Miles. When pushed to make a choice, will she follow the path of the tried and true or will she take a risk and dance into uncharted territory?” (Syndetics)
“Returning once again to the Abby Lee Dance Company in Pittsburgh, this explosive dance season takes excitement and drama to another level. Under the demanding Abby Lee Millers watchful eye, her young students compete with the end goal of winning a National Dance title, while their equally-determined mothers will stop at nothing to make their daughters dreams come true, going head-to-head with Abby and each other along the way. And we count down the most OMG moments in a special bonus episode.” (Syndetics)
Life in movement
“In 2007 the Sydney Dance Company appointed 29-year-old choreographer Tanja Liedtke as their first new artistic director in 30 years. However before she could take up the position, she was struck and killed by a truck in the middle of the night. Admired internationally as a dancer and celebrated for her fresh choreographic voice, she was known as a dedicated artist, intelligent, dorky, funny and generous. 18 months after her death her collaborators embark on a world tour of her work, and in the process they must deal with their grief and explore the reasons for her death. Interspersed with intimate footage of her artistic process and previously unseen interviews, Life in Movement is a film about moving creatively through life and loss.” (Syndetics)
Born to be wild : the leading men of American Ballet Theatre.
“This DANCE IN AMERICA performance and documentary explores the lives of the ABT’s four lead male dancers.” (Syndetics)
“Fred Astaire plays a gambler intent on raising $25,000 in New York in order to marry his fiance back home. Romantic complications occur when he meets dancing teacher, Ginger Rogers.” (Syndetics) A classic from the golden age of Hollywood musicals.