(1) Dance Academy
Once you get past the Australian accents, this has to be one of my favorite ballet-related things to watch. Not only are there three seasons (available on Amazon Prime), but each season has over 20 episodes and there is a follow-up movie on Netflix. So, once you become obsessed with it, you will have hours and hours of it to watch. The show follows a young ballet student, Tara Webster, and her three years at the National Academy of Ballet in Sydney, Australia. What I like about Dance Academy, is that the main focus is on ballet. Other shows and movies that claim to be about ballet, end up being mostly love stories, or hip-hop “dance off” challenges (I’m sure you know which ones I’m talking about). Dance Academy, on the other hand, is largely about being a ballet student, and training for a professional dance career.
(2) The Red Shoes
It’s old, yes. It’s a classic, yes. The Red Shoes is the original ballerina movie. It came out in the 40’s, but the dancing and story are as relevant today as they were then.
The story is about a ballerina, Victoria, and her struggle between dancing and love. We all have struggles, and things that get in the way of our ballet training, and although they may not be as dramatic as Victoria’s in The Red Shoes, we can all relate.
One of my favorite quotes from The Red Shoes:
Mr. Lermontov: “Why do you want to dance?”
Victoria: “Why do you want to live?”
(3) Billy Elliot
A tear-jerker, and an inspiring movie! Billy Elliot is a classic for good reason. There has been musicals and plays made from the movie, and they have gone on to be successes as well. The story is about a boy, Billy, from England (very thick accents). His mother has passed and is living in a small house with his Dad, brother and grandmother. He goes to boxing lessons, and discovers that there is a ballet class taught at the same time. He sneaks in and starts taking class, and well, I won’t spoil anything for you!
But, I will say that it ends up on this list because it really shows the beginning of the love of ballet and dance. Whenever you start dancing, you are a dancer. To quote Billy Elliot, “it feels like electricity!”, this is what happens when you start loving dance.
This one ends up at the top of many dancers’ lists. If you Googled, ‘top ballet movies’, I’m sure 9/10 websites would mention this movie, and for good reason! It really is one of the best ballet films out there. The reason this film became such a favorite is they used REAL DANCERS as the actors, instead of actors trying to dance. ABT’s very own Ethan Stiefle is the leading male character, and if you’re up-to-date on your ballet knowledge, I’m sure you will be able to spot numerous other professional dancers throughout the film.
The story follows a girl who gets into the elite American Ballet Company’s school, and her immediate struggles with fitting in. Without spoiling anything, she meets a principle dancer in the company who takes an interest in her.
There’s not much more to say about this classic. It’s a must watch for any dancer, and continues to be a popular ballet film, today.
They actually just celebrated 20 years of Centerstage this past week, so it makes sense to go check it out!
(5) The Company
This movie is a lot like other ballet/dance movies in the sense that they follow a few characters around a company. Although, The Company makes it feel more “realistic”, and I think that Hollywood captured what it feels like to be in a ballet company. There is still the cliché romantic interest that you’ll find in other dance films, but the focus of the movie is actually on ballet, not developing the love-story.
I hope you get a chance to watch a few from this list, and when the urge to get up and dance hits (as I know it will), go sign up for class at RBO here, https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/asp/main_enroll.asp?fl=true&tabID=7 Written by Nicole Powers (@nikki.powers)