Ballet Break: My Fave Ballet Movies

I’ve been taking ballet for over two years now, and I’ve been dancing en pointe (aka: destroying my feet in the most beautiful, metal way possible) for just shy of a year.

Posing in my first pointe shoes at my first pointe shoe fitting.
Posing in my first pointe shoes at my first pointe shoe fitting.

Last year I talked a bit about my plans to bring some ballet stuff onto the blog in 2015, and I’m officially kicking it off with my first Ballet Break–a new, monthly post that will center around something ballet-related, be it my own ballet adventures or something related (or loosely related) to ballet. This week, I’m talking about my favorite ballet-infused movies. I will readily admit that most dance movies can really flirt with that line between “craptastic” and “just crap”, but I love ’em. Good or bad, I think they’re great. So here are some of my faves, some of them are craptastic, some of them are genuinely amazing, all of them get me excited about ballet.

Dance Academy 

This one is technically an Australian television show, not a movie, but I still love it. This show falls squarely in the “craptastic” camp, as only 15% of the show is dance-focused, the other 75% of the show is campy, teen soap opera goodness. However campy and craptastic the show might be, I can’t help but love it. Besides, the dancing–which they don’t only stick to classical ballet–is usually genuinely great.

Ballerina

Ballerina is a documentary that focuses on various Russian ballerinas like Alina Somova, Svetlana Zakharova, and Uliana Lopatkina (pictured above). This is a genuinely amazing documentary. Russian ballerinas basically begin working on their craft from early childhood, and Ballerina does a great job of featuring the intense work that each of the dancers go through to perfect their craft.

Save the Last Dance

This movie perfectly encapsulates the early 2000s. The fashion, the music, it’s all just amazing. More than that, the love story is incredibly adorable. This movie also brings in other dance styles (mainly hip hop), not just classical ballet. If you try to tell me that, back in the day, you didn’t try to learn any one of the dances featured in this movie, I’d know you’re lying.

Black Swan

Black Swan brings together dance and horror in a truly brilliant way. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis do an awesome job in this film, and even though there were controversies over how much dancing Portman actually did in the movie (#TeamNatalie), it’s clear that the actors busted their butts to play ballerinas well. Black Swan is a bit of a brain-bender, and it is genuinely freaky at time. It’s also genuinely disgusting in parts (like the scene with the hang nail…or the feathers…or her toenail–I’m not gonna link out to those, you can Google that ish yourself). A film that is a mashup of gross/cerebral horror with an infusion of ballet is certainly a win in my book.

Center Stage

I’m sorry. You haven’t seen Center Stage? I’m gonna have to ask you to drop everything and go watch this movie RIGHT. NOW. This movie is completely and utterly ridiculous. The story is so incredibly campy. The acting is–for the most part, anyway–pretty sub-par. But OH. MY. WORD. This movie is craptastic, dance-flick gold. For instance, that final dance number (embedded below for your viewing pleasure)? The motorcycle, the red outfit, and that endless chain of fouetté turns make the finale pretty memorable. Regardless of the camp, this is a fun dance movie, with some truly talented dancers adding spice to the screen. Bonus? Center Stage features a pre-Gamora Zoe Saldana in it as well.

Do you like dance movies? What are some of your faves? Let me know in the comments!

18 Replies to “Ballet Break: My Fave Ballet Movies”

  1. Great ‘en pointe’ pose! I look forward to future Ballet Breaks 🙂 I can’t think of any movies, but I’ve always adored the dancing and ballerina featured in MCR’s “Helena” music video.

  2. I adore Save the Last Dance!! And Ballerina sounds pretty incredible. I am always so incredibly awed by dance, as I don’t have a graceful bone in my body – it always astonishes me what dancers can do!

  3. You look so lovely in those shoes! I am so jealous!I really want to try some day but I fear it’s much too late for me (too old). 😦

    Great blog by the way! Will be following!

    1. You never know! I didn’t start pointe until I was 26. As long as you’ve got a supportive teacher and your body is on board, you can do it! And thanks! Glad you’ll be hanging around here! 🙂

  4. Ahhh! Dance Academy. Even though I went through the series pretty quickly, I really like finding interviews and other dances with the actors. Did you know that Issy Durant who played Grace was actually on the Australian SYTYCD? That’s how she got her big break!

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