FAB’s Top Ballet Films

It’s been almost two months since distancing began, and it’s safe to say our movie lists are slowly dwindling down. We’ve collated some of our favourite ballet-themed movies and documentaries into this list to make sure our Friends get their ballet-fix!

This list is in no particular order, as we couldn’t bear to rank them!

 

Centre Stage (2000)

‘Centre Stage’Columbia Pictures

Ballet’s not all turns and tutus. Follow the new students of the American Ballet Academy as they face the challenges and setbacks of making it in the ballet world. One doesn’t have the ‘body.’ The other has a poor ‘attitude.’ And another lacks the ‘heart.’

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb1oUDMxHvE

Watch on Youtube or Google Play from $3.99.
Stream on Netflix

Mao’s Last Dancer (2009)

‘Mao’s Last Dancer – Samuel Goldwyn Films

Growing up in Maoist China, Li Cunxin never challenged or dared questioned his world. At 11, he was chosen by the state to move to Bejing and train as a ballet dancer. But when sent to an American Ballet Summer School, this facade begins to shatter.

Bonus points for this film as the Friends ran the Sydney premiere! Also, Australian Ballet’s own Chengwu Guo acts as teen Li Cunxin!

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy7f5DMPJAU

Watch on Youtube or Google Play from $3.99.
Stream on Stan

 

White Nights (1985)

‘White Nights’Columbia Pictures

Kolya Rodchenko, a defective Russian ballet dancer is forced to return to his homeland after being discovered. The KBG intend for him to return to the Kirvov Academy of Ballet, but after he befriends an American expat, he can’t give up on his dreams of freedom and escape.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHpKeRSLnF8

Watch on Youtube or Google Play from $3.99.

 

Billy Elliot (2000)

“Billy Elliot” – Universal Pictures

Set in the 1984 UK miner’s strike, follow little Billy Elliot as he tries his hardest to follow his passion for dance and his dream to become a professional ballet dancer. However, ‘ballet’ just isn’t what 11-year-old boys should do.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g1YvKDdIfc
Watch on Youtube or Google Play for $3.99.

 

Black Swan (2010)

“Black Swan”Fox Searchlight Pictures

Nina achieves the dream of all ballerinas – she is cast as the White Swan, Princess Odette. However, when the artistic director decides others may suit the role better, she slips slowly into madness.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jaI1XOB-bs
Watch on Youtube or Google Play for $4.99.

 

The Red Shoes (1948)

“The Red Shoes” General Film Distributors

An oldie but a goodie, Victoria Page is torn between her passion with dance and her passionate love with a young composer. With her life mirroring her character in the ballet, Victoria may be dancing to her death.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRV6LPtRUyc
Watch now on SBS: On Demand

 

The White Crow (2019)

“The White Crow”BBC Films

Rudolf Nureyev travels to Paris to further and fulfill his dream to become a professional ballet dancer. However, resistance from KGB officers put this dream, as well as Rudolf’s life, in a dangerous situation.

Some of our members attended screenings for ‘The White Crow’ last year, but it’s definitely one to re-watch!

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BklqjGWxNMs
Watch on Youtube or Google Play for $5.99.

 

A Ballerina’s Tale – Misty Copeland (2015)

“A Ballerina’s Tale”Sundance Selects

Ballet was all about fitting the ‘mold.’ Until Misty Copeland pirouette’d it all upside-down. From starting ballet ‘late’ at 13, to not having the “ideal” body type, and finally, to being the FIRST African-American Principal Ballerina at ABT. Follow Misty’s tale in this documentary about her story!

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Y2h6fz2XzQ
Watch on Youtube or Google Play for $5.99.

 

Bolshoi Babylon (2016)

Bolshoi Babylon” – Altitude Film Distribution

Seeking to uncover answers and secrets about the scandal surrounding the Bolshoi Theatre’s acid attacks in 2013, this documentary takes you behind the curtain like never before, documenting the extraordinary artistic and athletic talents of ballerina’s and the ruthlessness of the ballet world.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TK8uth06SQ&t=6s
Watch on Amazon Prime for $4.99

 

Girl (2018)

“Girl” Lukas Dhont

It’s no secret the professional ballet world is tough. But for Lara, a 15-year-old girl born in a boy’s body, it’s just that little bit tougher.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kdzu26tnUTc

Watch on Youtube or Google Play for $5.99.

 

The Company (2003)

“The Company”Sony Pictures Classic

Ry, an aspiring ballerina struggles with balancing the demands of being a dancer and her new relationship with Josh, who isn’t from her insular world. Featuring the actual Joffrey company, take a look into the lives of those in The Company.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6rlWpWRPVU
Watch on Amazon Prime for $3.99

 

Dancer – Sergei Polunin Documentary (2016)

“Dancer” Steven Cantor

He’s the “bad boy of ballet.” Follow the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal dancer at age 19, Sergei Polunin, and understand how he walked away from it all, only two years later.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXsP-AAL-7M
Watch on Youtube or Google Play from $5.99.

 

First Position (2011)

“First Position”First Production Films

Follow six young dancers aged 9-19 prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix in New York City, competing for the place at an elite ballet company or school.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmiBXdBNIXE
Watch on Amazon for $3.99

 

These last two are for the kids!
(Because school nights can be movie nights… right?)

 

Ballerina/Leap! (2012)

“Ballerina”Entertainment One

An orphan girl dreams of becoming a ballerina, assuming a new identity to become a pupil at the Grand Opera House in Paris.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a166o4om9OA
Watch on Foxtel Go or Youtube/Google Play from $12.99

 

Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses (2006)

“Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses”Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Princess Genevieve and her eleven sisters have discovered a magical world through dance, allowing them to understand the strength of imagination and creativity. Can they save their father’s kingdom in time?

Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTFMnqIz51g

Watch on Stan or Youtube/Google Play from $3.99.

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Happy Watching!

 

FAB in Focus – Bruce Pollack AM

FAB in Focus – Bruce Pollack AM

We recently asked unstoppable arts and theatre publicist Bruce Pollack to answer five fun facts for FAB. Enjoy reading about his involvement in The Friends and the hold ballet has on his heart.

What is your name and role at FAB?
Bruce Pollack Deputy Chair, Friends of the Australian Ballet

How long have you been involved with FAB?
I joined in 2006

 What is your earliest ballet memory?
I grew up in a house that we used an old wind up gramophone to listen to records.  We used that machine until we got an electric. My favourite recordings, old 78rpm’s, was a set of 8 records of highlights from Swan Lake.  I can still sing this music as I knew it so well. The Australian Ballet did not exist when I was a child, but I do remember being taken to see a ballet, no idea which one.  My greatest ballet memory is seeing Fonteyn and Nureyev perform Swan Lake in Melbourne

 

Bruce Pollack posing with toilet rolls

Bruce Pollack preparing for COVID-19 and stocking up

Why is FAB important to you?
I have worked in the theatre from the age of 10 and I am happy that I have received a pay packet from the arts ever since.  Working in the theatre I see as much on stage as I possibly can, and I see many ballet performances.  In the 1970’s for 4 years I was the Drama Teacher at the Australian Ballet School.  I love being a part of a Committee for not for profit arts organisations.  They are essential for our way of life and imperative for maintaining a level of “culture” in our community.  This is the 4th arts board that I have been on.

 

What are you doing to stay connected to ballet & dance at this time?
I look at every possible ballet link that I can get my hands on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Header image
Bruce Pollack and other members of The Friend’s council presenting David McAllister with an oversized cheque in 2008