Need Some Back-to-Studio Inspo? Take Your Pick from These 8 Dance Docs, Now Streaming on OVID
If you're seeking an extra dash of inspiration to start the new season on the right—dare we say—foot, look no further than dance documentaries.
Starting August 23, OVID, a streaming service dedicated to docs and art-house films, is adding eight notable dance documentaries to its library. The best part? There's a free seven-day trail. (After that, subscriptions are $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually.)
From the glamour of Russian ballet stars to young dancers training in Cuba to a portrait of powerhouse couple Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder, here's what's coming to a couch near you:
Carmen & Geoffrey
Way before #relationshipgoals was a thing, Carmen De Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder were exemplifying them. Dive inside the legendary careers and five-decade marriage of this dynamic duo in Carmen & Geoffrey, featuring archival footage from as early as the 1950s. The couple's collective performing and choreographic careers spanned Broadway, film, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and much more.
Onstage, we see classical ballet's glamour. Behind the scenes, it's about sweat, discipline and rigor. Ballerina shows viewers both perspectives, focusing on the careers of Mariinsky luminaries Diana Vishneva, Svetlana Zakharova, Ulyana Lopatkina, Alina Somova and Evgenia Obraztsova.
Follow three rising dance talents over four years as they prepare to enter the professional ballet world. While Ballet Boys is a story of sacrifices, it's also a portrayal of teenage friendship shared by Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød, Syvert Lorenz Garcia and Torgeir Lund.
Pina Bausch fans, this one's for you. Dancing Dreams retells the 10-month process when Bausch staged her Kontakthof on 40 teenagers in 2008. Be a fly on the wall during rehearsals with the late master.
Though Dream Girls was originally released in 1993, its story of Japan's Takarazuka Revue, a musical theater company, is equally intriguing today. Thousands of girls apply to attend the competitive Takarazuka Music School annually. Their ultimate goal? To join the prestigious Revue, where they have the option to perform male or female roles.
Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter
A must-watch for all dance majors, Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter explores the life of Martha Hill, a pioneering figure for dance in academia and Juilliard's founding director of dance.
For many young dancers, training at the illustrious National Ballet School in Cuba is a dream. But for locals, it may also be an escape from poverty. Secundaria follows one high school class through their training, with a special focus on Mayara Pineiro, who's now a principal at Pennsylvania Ballet.
The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen
The late Angela Bowen's life was truly multifaceted: She grew up in Boston during the Jim Crow era, married and had children, divorced, and came out as a lesbian. Along the way, she started a dance studio, was a professor of English and women's studies and became a dedicated gay rights activist.
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Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
We knew that Ivo van Hove and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's production of West Side Story would challenge our preconceived notions about the show.
But a recent Vogue story gives us a taste of just how nontraditional the Broadway revival will be. Most notably, van Hove is cutting "I Feel Pretty" and the "Somewhere" ballet, condensing the show into one act to better reflect the urgency of the 48-hour plot. (The choice has been approved by the West Side Story estate, including Sondheim, who has "long been uncomfortable" with some of the "I Feel Pretty" lyrics.)
"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.