La Danse


Who has not at one time or another imagined themselves on pointed toe high above the stage lights, moving to the strains of Stravinski’s Rite of Spring with arms aloft and legs rigidly poised to execute a perfect arabesque penchée, all the while exuding a detachment of serenity and grace? Perhaps, its a musing of my own childish dreams to be adorned in tulle and satin, so feel free to substitute your own wishful fantasy (feathers and sequins, perhaps). But for those who love ballet, a rare true-to-life intimate access into the lives of those endowed with the gifts and fortitude, or both, to capture in full cinematic brilliance the portrait of a time honored institution.

La Danse… ventures beyond the stage and studios and into sewing rooms, cafeterias and administrative offices. Despite the aura of vérité purity, It ihas the heft and intricacy of great drama.



David Denby, The New Yorker


“La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet,” which opened yesterday, lovingly captures frame by frame the mastery of art and technique as choreographed in the stately and elegant Palais Garnier in Paris, observing rehearsals, staff meetings and, finally, performances of seven dances, including classics like “The Nutcracker” and spiky new au courant efforts by younger choreographers. In the capable hands of master documentarian, Frederick Wiseman, this film, sumptuous in its length and graceful in its rhythm is, according to reviewer A.O. Scott of The New York Times, “a feast for ballet lovers” and “one of the finest dance films ever made.”



V.A. Musetto, New York Post


“An absolute treat for balletomanes.”

Leslie Felperin, Variety



For the language impaired, fret not. The film is subtitled in English and as Scott tells it, it matters not a whit if phrases are lost or words misunderstood as the energy and cadences are so “mesmerizing” the viewer is swept up in the rhapsody of the “meticulous” and “magical.”


Jason Anderson,Eye Weekly


“What a thrilling week for dance onscreen.
A portrait of one of the
world’s great companies
by one of the
world’s great vérité documentarians.

LA DANSE captures a living ecosystem.
Beyond offering the privilege
of watching gorgeously photographed scenes
from seven ballets
classically smooth and atonally jarring,
LA DANSE is an anatomy.
It’s about flesh and bone and sinew,
about sublimity on Earth.”

David Edelstein, New York





~ by eaesthete on 11/05/09.

5 Responses to “La Danse”

  1. the two minute video and your comments and quotes from others has me ordering this on Netflix now. I want that coat too! Love the Twenties styles.

  2. How can one ever forget the unmistakable moment of reckoning when you hear, for the first time, the hard landings of ribbon bound feet.

    I have always been in awe of dance, contemporary and classic both.

    At the age of 6, I walked ‘en pointe’ in my little bare feet, desperately trying to convince my mother that I must become a ballet dancer. It never came to pass.

    30 years later, I would design costumes for Leblond Danse,a modern dance troupe from Montreal. It was simply one of the best creative exchanges I could ever ask for…and now you know why.

  3. Fortunately, I am too short to have ever seriously considered a career in dance. Otherwise, I am sure I would be bruised and hungry. Happy, but bruised and hungry. And broke, no doubt. But for the few brief moments in class when music and choreography combined and combusted through me, wow. Then there’s the memory of Natalia Makarova performing La Bayadere, an impossibility of fluidity and magic. Any insight into this other world is a treat. Can’t wait to see it.

  4. un. deux. trois. un. deux. trois…..Wonderful

  5. I bought pointe shoes without the shank so I could wear them on Halloween – I swear someday I WILL dance en pointe.

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