In Balanchine's Classroom
(USA/2021—directed by Connie Hochman)
The genius of George Balanchine (1904-1983), the man who reinvented ballet for the 20th century, is celebrated in this homage to his nonpareil choreography, the basis of his body of work for the New York City Ballet and the technique taught at the world-renowned School of American Ballet.
Opening the door to his studio, Balanchine’s private laboratory, some of his greatest pupils reveal new facets of the groundbreaking choreographer: Jacques d’Amboise (“It’s like I was a pupil of Einstein”), Merrill Ashley (“a privilege of a lifetime”), Gloria Govrin, Suki Schorer, Edward Villella, and Heather Watts (“He was a mad scientist”). Balanchine instilled in each of them an abiding, obsessive love of dance and an almost religious desire to pass along his artistry and vision.
Today, as his former dancers teach a new generation, questions arise: what was the secret of his teaching? Can it be replicated? The depth of Balanchine’s passion – and theirs – is dazzling, as is the never-before-seen footage of him in the classroom. This is Balanchine as you have never seen him, and a film for anyone who loves ballet, as well as the legacy and resilience of the creative process. (88 minutes)
“I don’t want dancers who love to dance. I want dancers who need to dance.” -George Balanchine
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