A BALLERINA’S TALE
2015, Sundance Selects, 85 min, USA, Dir: Nelson George

In the cloistered world of classical ballet, very few prima ballerinas are black women; among them is San Pedro native Misty Copeland. After more than a decade at American Ballet Theatre, she got a coveted lead role at New York's Metropolitan Opera House and danced beautifully, but in great pain – she later discovered she had potentially career-ending fractures in her left shin. This graceful documentary offers an intimate look at Misty's life from triumph in Igor Stravinsky's Firebird to arduous recovery to a third act where she has returned to the ABT stage and emerged as a pop star.


PINA
2011, IFC Films, 103 min, Germany, France, UK, Dir: Wim Wenders

Director Wim Wenders pays tribute to modern dance innovator Pina Bausch in this gorgeous, Oscar-nominated 3-D documentary. Bausch was set to collaborate with Wenders on a film when she died; rather than abandon the project, Wenders reconfigured it as a celebration and representation of the choreographer’s pioneering work. Using state of the art technology and expert dancers from Bausch’s own company, Wenders has created one of the most vivid and expressive dance films the cinema has ever seen. With English subtitles.


AFTERNOON OF A FAUN: TANAQUIL LE CLERCQ
2013, Kino Lorber, 91 min, USA, Dir: Nancy Buirski

Dance student Tanaquil Le Clercq was in her teens when her lithe physique and expressive movement caught the eye of School of American Ballet founder George Balanchine. Le Clercq became a muse to Balanchine (who eventually married her) as well as to fellow choreographer Jerome Robbins, but in 1956, at the peak of her career, she was stricken with polio and never danced again. Through archival footage and interviews, this beautiful documentary captures the artistry and vibrant personality of one of the seminal figures of 20th century ballet. "A spooky, heartbreaking documentary...It’s a hymn to her rapture and infinite resilience. A" -Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly


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