1995. USA. Frederick Wiseman. 170 min.
Friday, March 12, 2010, 4:30 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
1995. USA. Directed by Frederick Wiseman. Wiseman’s first ballet film (La Danse, his most recent, is also shown this month) is an intimate portrait of the American Ballet Theatre company. The film centers on the rehearsal studio and administrative offices in downtown New York, as legendary choreographers, including Agnes de Mille and Ulysses Dove, and ballet masters Natalia Makarova and Irina Kolpakova put dancers through their paces (among them Alessandra Ferri, Cynthia Harvey, Julio Bocca, Susan Jaffe, and Danilo Radojevic). Corporate funds are raised, elaborate stage sets are built, aspiring ballerinas are enlisted and cut from the corps, and the company goes on tour in Athens and Copenhagen. Wiseman’s camera attempts to divine that elusive spark suggested by Agnes De Mille’s observation that "real choreography—really instinctive, deeply found gestures—don't come out of the brain, they come out of the guts, somewhere, and it's an instinctive, creative act and you don't know how it happens." 170 min.