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Ballet 422: Justin Peck NYCB Ballet Documentary

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The film will be released on DVD on May 26. Amazon is taking orders.

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I saw it last weekend and found it exceedingly boring. It was nice to see bits of Tiler, Sterling and Amar's dancing on film but there was hardly enough sustained performance footage of PAZ DE LA JOLLA to warrant a second look (or purchase the DVD). Zzzzzzz.....

I *do* love the Martinu music and wonder how Justin Peck choreographed to this score, compared to Wheeldon's fantastic work to the same music, RUSH. Alas, one cannot compare based on the bits of dancing shown in this film. However, I *can*tell that the costumes for the Wheeldon are more beautiful and unified (styles and colors).

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This is streaming on Netflix, now, for anyone who wants to watch it.

I watched it last night and I thought it was pretty boring. It seemed to simultaneously want to audience to already be "in the know" (about ballet in general or NYCB) but provided no meat for that "in the know" audience. I am not particularly interested in melancholy walks through the streets of NYC or watching someone watch choreography on their computer. Seeing Albert Evans was bittersweet and he was a high point. Someone earlier in the thread mentioned they thought Peck's corrections of Ramansar to Evans were out of line or shouldn't have been included--I thought it nicely captured the weird space for Peck, both in charge and in the corps. He has to be a little brutal with people he would be usually be reticent with. I wonder if the dancers would have had push back in the rehearsal process if he wasn't a corps dancer (I'm thinking especially when Hyltin tells him she's going to change the arm as she keeps falling over). None of this was over the top; I just wondered if it's the same if Ratmansky is standing in front of you.

I thought the costume designers seemed like idiots. It's one thing to not know much about ballet as they state, but they seemed very novice-y. I was worried when the woman came up to Peck after the dress rehearsal and was panicking about the costumes looking too busy and how it made the ballet look dis-unified: duh, you couldn't have seen that coming in advance? The choreo looked extremely busy from the little shown of Tiler Peck, so I find it weird no one thought of that beforehand.

Overall not impressive, but I think worth a stream on Netflix.

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This is streaming on Netflix, now, for anyone who wants to watch it.

I watched it last night and I thought it was pretty boring. It seemed to simultaneously want to audience to already be "in the know" (about ballet in general or NYCB) but provided no meat for that "in the know" audience. I am not particularly interested in melancholy walks through the streets of NYC or watching someone watch choreography on their computer. Seeing Albert Evans was bittersweet and he was a high point. Someone earlier in the thread mentioned they thought Peck's corrections of Ramansar to Evans were out of line or shouldn't have been included--I thought it nicely captured the weird space for Peck, both in charge and in the corps. He has to be a little brutal with people he would be usually be reticent with. I wonder if the dancers would have had push back in the rehearsal process if he wasn't a corps dancer (I'm thinking especially when Hyltin tells him she's going to change the arm as she keeps falling over). None of this was over the top; I just wondered if it's the same if Ratmansky is standing in front of you.

I thought the costume designers seemed like idiots. It's one thing to not know much about ballet as they state, but they seemed very novice-y. I was worried when the woman came up to Peck after the dress rehearsal and was panicking about the costumes looking too busy and how it made the ballet look dis-unified: duh, you couldn't have seen that coming in advance? The choreo looked extremely busy from the little shown of Tiler Peck, so I find it weird no one thought of that beforehand.

Overall not impressive, but I think worth a stream on Netflix.

I think you might like the movie better if you saw it on DVD/Blu-Ray because it has a commentary by director Lipes (who still never mentions he's married to Ellen Bar, head of NYCB's media operations) and Justin Peck. It's a pretty interesting commentary and helps make more sense of the movie. Also, the main costume designer, Reid Bartelme (the blond guy with glasses) was a dancer and only recently retired. He apparently met Harriet Jung (the frazzled woman) at FIT. They explain this was Reid's biggest commission as a costume designer but he has done the costumes for several ballets. But he definitely was a dancer first.

I also find these images of Albert bittersweet but I'm so glad we have them. They show him being funny, perceptive, helpful. Now that I can see this movie without crying, I'm really glad he's memorialized in it.

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The film will be released on DVD on May 26. Amazon is taking orders.

BTW, I bought 3 Blu-Rays of Ballet 422. Each one was defective and I had to send it back and would get a new one. I could never get a working copy, so I gave up and bought the DVD (which worked, thank God). What's up with Magnolia making such a poor product?

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I think I liked it more than you did, but I remember thinking it was more about a series of meetings than it was about a dance.

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I remember thinking it was more about a series of meetings than it was about a dance.

I put "Ballet 422" in the same category as R. J. Cutler's 2009 "The September Issue" - i.e., a documentary that's more about the process than the product, and more inclined to show the process to you and let you make of it what you will rather than explain it. (I think "Ballet 422" is a little more spare in this regard.) I happened to like both films very much.

"The September Issue" used to be available for streaming on Netflix, but no more alas ... but you can rent it for $0.99 on Amazon Prime Video.

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I put "Ballet 422" in the same category as R. J. Cutler's 2009 "The September Issue" - i.e., a documentary that's more about the process than the product, and more inclined to show the process to you and let you make of it what you will rather than explain it.

Good pocket description!

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I watched Ballet 422 on Netflix, which was frustrating because the connection was acting up and the film stopped and buffered about every two minutes. I tried again the next day and almost made it all the way through with no interruption. I loved it. I didn't feel the need to see the whole ballet as the film includes a lot of it during rehearsal, and it was really about Justin Peck's process.

The film does a great job of portraying ballet dancers as hardworking, serious, and not crazy, unlike the usual media image. Whether incidentally or by design, NYCB comes across as a more ethnically diverse institution than it usually appears. Besides the prominence of Amar Ramasar and Albert Evans, this was the first time I've gotten a glimpse of their sole Asian and black female dancers. I was struck by the moment when a very young guy, who looked like a schoolkid, lifted Sterling Hyltin and effortlessly tossed her half way across the stage, repeatedly. It was an impressive illustration of the physical strength that male ballet dancers take for granted, but non fans might find surprising.

JP is very attractive on film. If he ever tires of dance, he could do very well as a model - imagine him as the face of Ralph Lauren menswear, especially when he wears his glasses!

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I saw it last weekend and found it exceedingly boring. It was nice to see bits of Tiler, Sterling and Amar's dancing on film but there was hardly enough sustained performance footage of PAZ DE LA JOLLA to warrant a second look (or purchase the DVD). Zzzzzzz.....

I *do* love the Martinu music and wonder how Justin Peck choreographed to this score, compared to Wheeldon's fantastic work to the same music, RUSH. Alas, one cannot compare based on the bits of dancing shown in this film. However, I *can*tell that the costumes for the Wheeldon are more beautiful and unified (styles and colors).

I just saw it on DVD. It didn't last long enough to be truly boring for me, but I certainly wasn't gripped. There's a fair amount of familiar ballet documentary footage of dancers in class, warming up, doing things to their feet and shoes, etc. and way too many shots for a movie that lasts a little over an hour of Peck trudging up and down hallways, stairs, and walking down the street. The Wiseman method may well have been the model, but it doesn't always work for Wiseman and it doesn't work particularly well here. (I think both of Wiseman's ballet documentaries would have been improved if he had departed from his customary approach and let us know more about who and what we were seeing.) I think it would have helped to hear from Peck and the dancers directly. Apart from the few bits of difficulty in rehearsal that others have mentioned, there isn't much in the way of drama. I'm not suggesting Lipes should have manufactured it, but if this is all he had and if for whatever reason he couldn't show us a meaningful amount of the ballet we're watching these people work on -- well, it gets harder to see the point, in all honesty.

It is a nice memento of Albert Evans, who is most engaging, and I would have loved to hear him talk about his work on Peck's ballets.

Also, the main costume designer, Reid Bartelme (the blond guy with glasses) was a dancer and only recently retired.

I liked him a lot.

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