Pop Culture

All the Dance Movies You'll Want to See in Theaters This Year

Misty Copeland on the set of The Nutcracker and The Four Realms. Photo courtesy Disney

Back in January, we took a look at Hollywood's 2018 dance card. While Red Sparrow and the Tiler Peck documentary Ballet Now have been released, several other films that piqued our curiosity are still in various stages of development. (And some have been radio silent, like the Carmen being helmed by Benjamin Millepied.) From Misty Copeland to Carlos Acosta, new trailers to first looks, here's the latest on the dancing we might just see on the big screen later this year.


The Nutcracker and The Four Realms

We already knew about Misty Copeland's involvement, but Sergei Polunin, too? The dance bona-fides in this film are no joke, with Liam Scarlett choreographing (and acting as movement director elsewhere in the film) and Lil Buck (!) providing motion capture for the Mouse King. And we'll admit that we're intrigued by the recasting of Mother Ginger (played by Helen Mirren) as the film's villain. In theaters November 2.

Suspiria

The trailer for the remake of the 1977 horror film, helmed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), pretty much confirmed our suspicions that terror is going to be emphasized over technique in the final cut. But we recently learned that frequent Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui collaborator Damien Jalet choreographed for the film, including at least one major dance sequence. "We felt that dance needed to be part of the process of witchcraft," Guadagnino told Entertainment Weekly. Star Dakota Johnson added that, as a non-dancer, filming a staged dance performance was in and of itself "terrifying." In theaters November 2.

The White Crow

Oleg Ivenko as Rudolf Nureyev in The White Crow. Photo by Larry D. Horricks/BBC Films, via IMDB

We don't know much more about the Rudolf Nureyev biopic than we did back in January, but it was reported earlier this week that Sony Classics has acquired North American distribution rights to the Ralph Fiennes–directed picture. So we'll definitely be seeing this one in theaters, but whether that happens in time for it to be an awards season contender, at least this year, is up in the air. Tentatively slated for a 2018 release.

Yuli

Still from Yuli. Via IMDB

We haven't heard any more official news about the Carlos Acosta biopic since filming commenced in November, but IMDB lists December 14 as the release date in Spain. (It's also where we found this absurdly adorable still, presumably from a scene featuring a young Acosta.) We're keeping our fingers crossed that the film, based on Acosta's memoir No Way Home and reportedly featuring lots of dancing, finds its way stateside.

Broadway
The "Merde" bag. Courtesy Scenery

Jennifer Kahn knew the theater industry could do better. As a professional stage manager for 17 years she worked on regional, off-Broadway and Broadway shows. Nearly each time a show closed, something unsettling happened: "I would watch them throw away our shows. All of the beautiful artwork by my friends in the paint shop would go in the trash." The elaborate backdrops? Gone.

But she had an idea: What if the material used in the backdrops and legs could be upcycled into something new? And what if theater lovers could literally keep a piece of a beloved show?

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.

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News
Photo by Gabriel Davalos, Courtesy Valdés

For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.

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Health & Body
Sara Mearns in the gym. Photo by Kyle Froman.

New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns wasn't sure she was strong enough. A ballerina who has danced many demanding full-length and contemporary roles, she was about to push herself physically more than she thought was possible.

"I said, 'I can't. My body won't,' " she says. "He told me, 'Yes, it will.' "

She wasn't working with a ballet coach, but with personal trainer Joel Prouty, who was asking her to do squats with a heavier barbell than she'd ever used.

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