BALLET is a profile of the American Ballet Theatre, an important classical ballet company. The film presents the company in rehearsal in their New York studio and on tour in Athens and Copenhagen. Choreographers, ballet masters and mistresses are shown at work with principal dancers, soloists and the corps de ballet. Other sequences involve the administration and fundraising aspects of the company.
Ballet is an eloquent statement about the crucial role of art in bringing extra dimensions to our lives … As much as any seminarian, dancers have a special calling, an intense dedication. In classes and rehearsals, we see youngsters with ideal bodies looking for direction from those who have gone before. Outside the studios, they are just ordinary young people going to the beach… Then the lights go down, the curtain goes up and they are transformed into the vessels of incredible beauty.
–John J. O'Connor, The New York Times
[Wiseman] follows American Ballet Theatre’s dancers, choreographers, and backstage personnel through the arduous construction of a dance. Whether he’s recording a ballet master’s interview with a young hopeful or observing Natalia Makarova giving instructions in the projection of glamour and allure, Wiseman remains transfixed by the rigorous and highly traditional notion of beauty that the workers are trying to honor.
– The New Yorker
BALLET, in its characteristic unadorned, unsentimentalized manner, remains unique, and its portrait of ballet dancers at work has no parallel.
–Alan M. Kriegsman, The Washington Post
BALLET at Museum of the Moving Image
Wednesday November 25
BALLET at the National Gallery of Art
Educationalincludes public performance rights
released 1995, 170 minutes
The Last Letter
La Danse - Le Ballet de l'Opera de Paris