1. My 19 year old sister is an ice dancer, and among her accomplishments is being the 2011 U.S. National Junior champion and World Bronze Medalist. I appreciate documentaries like this so much, because I know from watching her my whole life how physically demanding figure skating, like dance, is and how much these kids sacrifice to chase a dream. I cannot wait to see this film!

  2. I am so excited you posted about this! I definitely want to see it! I danced as a child for fun, and loved ballet, so this is right up my alley for documentaries that I want to see!

  3. As a past dancer I will not miss any chance to watch this movie! I am so excited to see this movie. Maybe this movie will finally show the world how much work one puts into dance. I know that I was always teased a little about being a ballerina in high school and I always thought I would prove people wrong by becoming a great ballerina, until I injured myself a couple years ago. I can’t wait to see this movie! When does it come out?

  4. As a past dancer I will not miss any chance to watch this movie! I am so excited to see this movie. Maybe this movie will finally show the world how much work one puts into dance. I know that I was always teased a little about being a ballerina in high school and I always thought I would prove people wrong by becoming a great ballerina, until I injured myself a couple years ago. I can’t wait to see this movie! When does it come out?

  5. Ah I so wanted to be a ballerina then puberty hit and I got all shy, such a waste!

  6. I took dance lessons for years as a child about 15 years I think. Never close to being a pro, but can’t wait to see this movie!

  7. I can’t wait to see this film! I’ve always believed I was meant to be a dancer, I just never got the lessons.


  8. I took up ballet classes a couple of weeks ago. You know, just for fun, I’ve never did any dancing my whole life. Also, I’m waaaay to old to become a dancer, so for me it’s just a hobby. But one thing our teacher said at the very beginning, when we painfully attempted our first ‘plie’, and it stuck with me ever since, was: classical dance hurts! :)
    thanks for the movie tip.

  9. Ballet is sooo beautiful. I have always thought it was an amazing art form. I would see the film for that reason alone. It does kind of remind me of this other documentary in a way. The one called A State of Mind, about the children dancers in the North Korean Mass Games. Although, these children have a choice, so it’s probably much happier.

  10. Yes, I danced. I would love for my future children to dance as well. However, if they do not want to dance then they don’t have to. Also, I’ll be certain to peek in on the classes as well. I danced because I loved it and my uncle was a ballet dancer before he died young and I never met him. I danced to make my dad happy and remind him of his brother.
    Yet. Dancing also hurt me more in some ways than it helped. My family had NO money, I’m still so thankful they found the money to put me in classes. But because of this, I had off-brand shoes and very cheap leotards and skirts – nothing like the Capezio dance wear the other girls in my class had. I was teased about this and never made any friends in my dance class. I can say that I was a lot better than many of them, who I’m sure were there only because their parents insisted or something. It hurt my feelings so much that I lied and said I didn’t want to dance anymore.

    Years later, in jr. high, I returned to dancing but at a different studio. This time it was much worse. Girls were no longer girls but young women. With eating disorders. So skinny and frail, dancing all of their lives, bending ever which way with little effort… I felt uncomfortable once more. I didn’t last the whole year and left class again because the stress and pressure from their stares and how unwelcome they made me feel honestly caused me great anxiety and sickness. I hope the best for all of these children, but I hope that they can turn their brains off from the awful people I’m sure they encounter. I hope that if they don’t want it anymore they walk away and thrive elsewhere. I wish I could return to dancing but it will probably never happen. Perhaps when I am rich and I can have my own private lessons. (:

  11. i was a dancer and still love it so much. i must see this!

  12. wow – thanks for putting this on my radar, what a great film! I grew up ice dancing; ballet was cross-training. I remember skating until my feet were raw and bloody on a regular basis – I never loved anything so much as the ice. Alas, one grows up and i started suffering from spinal degeneration at 24 and my right knee went at 26, after so many childhood years of such hard physical labour. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing. It is good to have known such passion and intensity like that!

  13. Aw man, i would love to see it but it’s not playing anywhere near me!! I hope it’s like a reality version of Center Stage!! (all time favorite movie, I think)

  14. I agree! I’m definitely going to shed some tears on this one, but as a former dancer and ballet lover, I’ll have to see it. It looks breathtaking!

  15. I am really looking forward to seeing this! (but why do I already feel like I’m going to be bawling my eyes out?!)

  16. I am so excited to see this documentary!

    I’ve been dancing for well over 13 years now, recently graduating from dance at university and now teaching ballet. It was always my dream to be a ballerina, but unfortunately money is needed to pursue such a career, and when I was 15, money was something my single parent mum did not have!

    It makes me sad sometimes when I see girls I used to dance alongside, now getting jobs in ballet companies. But I always remind myself that things happen for a reason, and I wouldn’t have the wonderful things in my life now if things played out differently. xx


  17. coincidentally, just last week i posted about a ballerina documentary (http://leanerbythelake.com/?p=11102) , inspired by your slow-motion dance post a while back. this doc looks incredible. have you ever seen Ballerina by Bertrand Normand. It’s a first hand look into the life of Russia’s five leading ballerina’s at the Kirov ballet. I soaked up every second of it!

  18. Alina says...

    I find these kinds of films so inspiring (I recently saw “They Came to Play,” which is about a music competition). I’m taking dance classes, too, so I might just see this one!

  19. thanks for the tip! I love dance and dance movies. Can’t wait to see this!

  20. I love ballet. I never did it as a child. I can’t wait to see it. When does it come out? Will it be at the theaters or just on DVD?

  21. i’ve always been enchanted by ballet…when i was 5, my mom put me in a ballet class, but i cried and cried and didn’t want to go back. i think about that and wish my mom had made me stick it out!!

    this documentary looks awesome!

  22. just came from excellent practice with Tono Belis, he danced in Monako. Wow it was awesome:) Check my blog form practice time:) thank you

  23. That looks so interesting. It is amazing how hard these dancers work and they are never put in the spot light like other professional sportsmen.

  24. Anonymous says...

    I did classical ballet for 12 years and was in a junior ballet company for 2 of those years. I loved the discipline of ballet and being able to sculpt my body into an instrument of expression. It’s been almost ten years since I danced, but I find that ballet gave me habits that are helpful in other facets of my life — especially the desire to work hard and apply myself. Most of all, ballet gave me the insight that I am capable of beautiful things. I am so grateful for my dance teachers who helped me to find how strong I can be.

  25. Like Sarah above, I grew up dancing (and was actually quite good if I do say so myself) but stopped once I hit college… I didn’t have the drive to continue. Now I enjoy it from the other side of the stage! I would LOVE to see this.

  26. This reminds me of Centre Stage, but actually good. ;)

  27. Putting this in my netflix queue, thanks for the recommendation! did you see Jig, the Irish dancing documentary? It aired on TLC but you can rent on netflix too.

  28. Anonymous says...

    I almost made it as a professional dancer, but gave up in my late teens after realising I was not good enough for other than to be a chorus girl in a distant province. So I became an architect instead, but I still LOVE ballet and watching documents and films like this. They always make me cry though, not for jealousy but for appreciation.

    All the years of hard work were not wasted anyway; I’ve gained 25kg since my dancing days and definately do not look like a ballerina, but the posture I have kept to this day, and every now and then people comment on it, guessing I have spent some time practicing it in my youth :)

  29. I have 15 years of professional ballet training under my belt and I cannot wait to see this film. It showed at Full Frame in Durham NC, but I was unable to attend.

    Chelsea (www.hautechildinthecity.com)

  30. It’s very interesting, I’ll follow it)

  31. I did ballet through my first year of pointe. Then I developed curves and always felt out of place with all the super thin girls. Also it wasn’t my life, I had many interests when I was a kid. So I made the decision to quit when I was 13. It was really hard at the time but I knew that the dance world wasn’t for me. But I still love going to the ballet and daydreaming about being a prima ballerina, so yes I will definitely see this film!

  32. ana says...

    this is really lovely:)

    p.s. please, write about your amsterdam trip, i am going there very soon for a short trip, so i would like to hear about your experience! thanks!

  33. must see this! i grew up taking ballet classes, but then i turned to hockey as i found ballet a tad too boring. however, i came back to ballet and to dance as a teenager. to be a professional dancer one has to love it beyond reason. this film looks like it captures that love/obsession a dancer must have and i can’t wait to see it.

  34. The editor in me wants to note the following corrections: Strike “almost” from my comment about appreciating dance, and capitalize “Dance” in the Joffrey movie title. Blarg. Sowwy!

  35. I danced ballet until I was 6 years old. I quit because the teacher shouted at me, (I think she got some names confused since I wasn’t being naughty) and it scared me and I never went back! Just imagine if it hadn’t been my name she had shouted! (of course I would have gone on to be an award winning dancer if it hadn’t been for that tiny detail :p )

  36. Photos and movies like this make me wish I had kept doing ballet when I was small but I used to be too much of a tomboy and hated the strict teachers. It is so nice to see children doing something that they love without being fed super sugar drinks and covered in makeup.

  37. gabriela, no way! what a small world. i wish we could have a field trip to all go see it together:)

  38. Had no idea about this documentary and am SO excited to see it now! My husband and I love dance and are very lucky to live in one of the best cities in the world for it! If we could see every ballet we would!


  39. I trained to be a ballet dancer but didn’t make it to where I wanted (NY of course). Now older – I still love it as a side hobby and can’t wait to see this movie!

  40. Whoa! That trailer gave me goosebumps! I took ballet until puberty and then got hips! Ouch! I had a Russian teacher at the time and she would whack at my thighs. I have nothing but admiration for the dancers that make it–to top it off they know that their careers will be short.

  41. I used to do ballet and pointe! my first experience with ballet was at a figure skating summer camp in Detroit with a very harsh Russian teacher. my grandma had to PAY me to go!

    it took me a few years later to get back into it (it really helps as a figure skater) and my instructor was much more laid back. her classes were more about having fun and learning the style instead of pushing us towards competitions and greatness. i’m not sure i could have handled that!

  42. I agree with you, antique… I am SO INFLEXIBLE it’s scary! I tried ballet for a few months in my youth and left crying… haha! But this documentary looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing! I love this sort of thing!

  43. I don’t understand how someone’s body can bend that way. I am so not flexible lol

  44. Whoa! So intense! I have some pretty incredible ballet friends, but I was never able to stick with it when I was younger. I wish I would have though, a lot of people ask if I dance. I think I’ll stick with swing dancing. :)


  45. So weird: I was just hunting for a copy of this weekend! *unfortunately, not a signal movie rental place had a copy. :(
    **I wish I had Netflix. Le sigh.


  46. YES! my friend from elementary school directed it! Everyone should go see it!

  47. wow… looks so inspiring! i took dance for 9 years when i was younger, battled between dance and sports in middle school, before deciding to pursue sports instead of dance. makes me wish i had stayed in dance… though, growing up in a small town, the “good” dance company focused on “jazz” dancing rather than classical ballet (prob more money in it or something…) and that would have gotten me nowhere.

    i’m totally watching this…

  48. I love a good documentary. I will definitely check this out.

  49. Oooo this looks amazing! I’ll definitely be seeing it. Thanks, Joanna! xoxo

  50. I did ballet for 2 years, but I was not talented at all -although I am so pasionate about it! Anyway, I think this documentary is about discipline, superation and beauty! Can’t wait to check it out! Thanks for sharing! xoxo

  51. I danced ballet for years as a child and I have recently started again. I am blessed to attend classes at a school where teachers never tell a child she is too fat, inflexible, or short. My teacher, a pro dancer for Alvin Ailey, tells us, “Do not ever let them tell you that you can’t, because you can. Don’t listen to them, it’s a lie.” She then demonstrates her “shortcomings”, such as never being able to do full splits, having a very small second, etc. In fact, when I went to visit a professional ballet company class, I noticed that so many of the girls were only 5 feet tall!

  52. iam dancer, since my 6years old, and in 9th of may i am gonna turn 30:) and at 40 minutes iam going practice ballet and contemporary dance:) but in my real life iam an architect:) so i know what ballet mean, i know what hard working mean. but still i know iam not gonna be ballet master so iam doing it as my hobby, its good for body, for your muscles, for your way how to stay, how to keep your back straight. i just can recomend to you.
    dance other wise we are lost! pina bausch.

  53. I had been taking ballet lessons for 10 years. After another 10 years, im now taking adult ballet at my old teacher. It’s amazing how our bodies remember what they have been doing after all these years…
    Ill definately be watching that!

  54. I can’t wait to see it! I’m so excited! I danced ballet for years as a child, and then moved on to flamenco, which eventually became my full time career, but I have recently returned to it as an adult and completely obsessed and in love. It helps to have found an amazing and inspiring teacher, which is not always that easy in a discipline like ballet.


  55. The preview gave me chills; now I feel like I have to see it.

  56. Very cool! I was one of those who was terrified of dance (any dance) as a kid but secretly really wanted to learn. Eventually I did (salsa) and loved how it let me express a side of myself that normally doesn’t come out to play. Learning also almost made me more appreciative of the artistry and athleticism of dancers.

    Speaking of ballet movies, there’s a new documentary, Joffrey: Mavericks of American dance, that’s hosting special one-night-only screenings across the country this Wednesday: http://www.joffreymovie.com/ And I believe there’ll be individual screenings in other cities after that.

  57. I can’t wait to see this. I danced ballet all growing up but when I got to about 16 I came to terms with the fact that my feet would never be “good” enough and that my legs aren’t straight enough to make it (I’m a little bow-legged). However, I still love dance and get my fixes through other dance and vicariously through documentaries like this!

  58. LC Taylor says...

    I danced as a kid and once did 18 shows of the Nutcracker in one month. Then I gave it up b/c the head of my ballet school said soccer was ruining my body for ballet – apparently you can be too muscular at 11 years old! I definitely made the right choice picking soccer over dance, but I’ve never lost my love for it. I even took a ballet class in college and then again at about 25 just for fun. :)

    Thanks for sharing Joanna, this looks really interesting.

  59. This looks really amazing! I danced in all through middle school and high school as well – it was such a fantastic work out and way to just have fun! And who doesn’t love dressing up in outrageous costumes and makeup for recitals?

    Also, if you ever visit Chicago, eat at the top of the Macy’s there – you can look out the window and see the dancers at Joffrey Ballet which is just across the street!

  60. I have always been fascinated with ballet. I still regret not studying it for more than two girls when I was younger. I definitely plan to see the documentary!

  61. I never danced, but I think it would have been pretty much like the little girl in The Tragedy of First Position if I had. (Thanks forever for posting that video. I die every time.)

  62. This looks so interesting! I just started taking ballet classes (adult beginner–SO low pressure) and have an even greater appreciation for all the skill and work that’s involved. Even the smallest movements require such strength and precision, plus artistry.

  63. RWL, i was told that i wasn’t flexible enough. my pros were that i had good balance and high arches. but although i stretched ALL the time, i was not at all naturally flexible–i could only do a split one way.

  64. I don’t dance, but I love dancing movies! I can’t think of one I have watched and not liked…..From Pina to Bring it On I love them all. There’s just so much soul and gumption in each one.

  65. Would really enjoy seeing this movie. I’m sure it’s hard on the body to be in ballet, just as it is to be a football player, a wrestler, etc. Definitely a lifestyle choice.

  66. sarah, i totally agree–i would love to watch that.

  67. This is something I must see! I used to dance when I was in middle and high school. Although not extremely talented, I loved ballet. I fell in love instantly. I was (supposed to be) weightless and graceful. This is on my must see documentary list.

  68. As a child, I wanted to be a dancer. I took rigorous ballet classes and was eventually told that I was too short and too fat (the short part is true – I’m 5’2″ but the fat part was ridiculous, as you can imagine). Fortunately, I discovered I loved doing other things though my appreciation for the hard work that goes into ballet remains.


  69. I quit dancing for 5 years and now I am back at it. Dancing four times a week! I love it and it is very hard work. I’m sure the dancers in this documentary are working twice, or three times as hard as me. I will definitely see this!
    There are two ballet tv shows coming up in the summer, one is called bun heads and the other is breaking pointe. I don’t know if thy will be cheesy or not, but I like a good dose of cheese.

  70. Yeah I definitely want to see this! I was a total bunhead when I was younger, but at age 15 decided it wasn’t the life I wanted anymore. I still LOVE dancing but now am a musical theatre performer. Some days I really miss my ballet life, so a documentary like this will be fun to go to.

  71. wow dancing branflake-that is amazing! the docu film looks great-but oh so scary how hard the children have to work. But then, is it bad that i think i have NEVER worked as hard as they have…?

  72. Anonymous says...

    I saw this at TIFF! It’s crazy the amount of pressure the kids (not just the parents) put on themselves to succeed. – Jamie

  73. I danced ballet for 12 years and miss it all the time. This documentary looks incredible!

  74. Yes! Although I don’t know anything about ballet I think it’s beautiful and this film… wow. Can’t wait.

  75. SO EXCITED to see this!! I grew up dancing ballet and it’s in my blood enough where I’m still obsessed with it, though my body can’t stand the rigor today.

    Aside from competitions, I would be interested in seeing a doc on students auditioning from companies, but hey, dance is dance.

    The world of ballet indeed can be brutal, but I think many if not most of these kids love dancing.

  76. How cool! I only “danced” in ballet as a four year old. I don’t think that counts! I always want to watch the stuff you recommend, Joanna! I really need to watch the one over wine also, and the short movie about the god of love is our favorite!!

    @Dancing Branflake: Ahh! Congrats to him!!

  77. i went to college for dance, where i promptly decided the world of professional dance was not for me (or my body, ouch!). yet, my undying love of ballet never ends. so, yes. and, yay!

  78. Tiffany, that is so cool!! I love documentaries like this, so I’ll definitely have to check it out!

  79. Wow – looked really cool. I have an 11 year old who has danced since she was 2. It’s always great to watch how hard it is to move up. Thanks for sharing!

  80. oh my goodness, that is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  81. A student where I teach won the gold this year at this competition- we are over the moon excited! So, yes, I will definitely be seeing this movie. I’ve been promoting it (and him) like crazy.