Thursday, July 23, 2009


Today, I am offering a video recommendation. As every Goreyphile knows, Edward Gorey was obsessed with George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet. Before the NYCB, there was the Ballets Russe. There is an excellent ballet documentary titled Ballets Russes that came out in 2006.

In this documentary, members of the Ballets Russe and the rival company the Ballets Russe of Monte Carlo, tell stories about their lives as professional dancers. Mr. Balanchine plays into the history of the Ballet Russe and there is a section in the extras where the dancers reminisce about working with the famed choreographer. The people interviewed are in their 70's and 80's and many are still teaching and dancing daily.

This is the world of The Gilded Bat, where the ballerinas glide onstage on their toes and everyone (including Americans who join the company) has a long Russian name. For someone like myself with only a passing knowledge of classical ballet, this video was amusing and illuminating. Add this one to your Netflix queue.

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