Watermill

ABT Documentary by Wiseman

17 posts in this topic

I'm spinning this thread off the Center Stage/Billy Elliot conversation/debate because dufray, Cabriole and Little Swan mentioned the documentary film BALLET by the great Frederick Wiseman. Let's put the Hollywood fluff aside and talk about a real film. (I know I'm comparing apples & oranges: but isn't summer the time for fruit salad!?)

I taped it off PBS years ago and it is without a doubt the most fascinating, satisfying documentary ever made about a professional company. The work ethic, joy, creativity, struggles, and tons of rehearsals that make up a ballet dancers life are brought to the screen without a word of narration. You are a fly on the wall of the ABT studios. Amazing stuff...

I will view it once more this weekend and try to give more details.

Wiseman's Company, Zipporah Films

http://www.zipporah.com/28.html

rents out the 16mm film for $200. or sells a video for $400. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you put together a group of balletomanes (one of whom has access to a projector) you are in for a treat. As Cabriole suggests, first check with your libray or local college dance dept.

And no, I do not know who that young dancer is; hoping someone does.

Cheers,

Watermill

Share this post


Link to post
I'm spinning this thread off the Center Stage/Billy Elliot conversation/debate because dufray, Cabriole and Little Swan mentioned the documentary film BALLET by the great Frederick Wiseman. Let's put the Hollywood fluff aside and talk about a real film. (I know I'm comparing apples & oranges: but isn't summer the time for fruit salad!?)

I taped it off PBS years ago and it is without a doubt the most fascinating, satisfying documentary ever made about a professional company. The work ethic, joy, creativity, struggles, and tons of rehearsals that make up a ballet dancers life are brought to the screen without a word of narration. You are a fly on the wall of the ABT studios. Amazing stuff...

I will view it once more this weekend and try to give more details.

Wiseman's Company, Zipporah Films

http://www.zipporah.com/28.html

rents out the 16mm film for $200. or sells a video for $400. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you put together a group of balletomanes (one of whom has access to a projector) you are in for a treat. As Cabriole suggests, first check with your libray or local college dance dept.

And no, I do not know who that young dancer is; hoping someone does.

Cheers,

Watermill

I think I taped it years ago as well but not sure if you're talking about the same ABT documentary that I have. The one I have is when Jane Herman was company manager. In one scene she is blasting the Met for booking the Bolshoi with the same repertory as ABT. I'll have to look again but I think it has Michael Somes rehearsing ABT in

Ashton's Symphonic Variations. Is THAT the one?

Richka

Share this post


Link to post

I don't remember the Symphonic Variations scene, but I do remember Jane Hermann's angry phone call with the Met, also Makarova coaching Cheryl Yeager as Gamzatti. Yes, that was Wiseman's documentary.

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, I think it was Cynthia Harvey who did the ballerina's role.

The BIG difference between the ABT one and the POB one is that ABT was in a tight situation, re both box office and artistic direction at the time, and the POB is truly solid -- and in particular Brigitte Lefebvre is truly impressive. Hermann was impressive in her way, but her policy of keeping ABT alive at all costs was gutsy but in fact artistically desperate.

Share this post


Link to post

I just bought a copy of the film from Zipporah and am looking forward to seeing Ms Hermann again...

Share this post


Link to post
I'm spinning this thread off the Center Stage/Billy Elliot conversation/debate because dufray, Cabriole and Little Swan mentioned the documentary film BALLET by the great Frederick Wiseman. Let's put the Hollywood fluff aside and talk about a real film. (I know I'm comparing apples & oranges: but isn't summer the time for fruit salad!?)

I taped it off PBS years ago and it is without a doubt the most fascinating, satisfying documentary ever made about a professional company. The work ethic, joy, creativity, struggles, and tons of rehearsals that make up a ballet dancers life are brought to the screen without a word of narration. You are a fly on the wall of the ABT studios. Amazing stuff...

I will view it once more this weekend and try to give more details.

Wiseman's Company, Zipporah Films

http://www.zipporah.com/28.html

rents out the 16mm film for $200. or sells a video for $400. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you put together a group of balletomanes (one of whom has access to a projector) you are in for a treat. As Cabriole suggests, first check with your libray or local college dance dept.

And no, I do not know who that young dancer is; hoping someone does.

Cheers,

Watermill

HI Watermill, could it have been Paloma Herrera . Who was 18-20 years old?

Share this post


Link to post
Yes, I think it was Cynthia Harvey who did the ballerina's role.

The BIG difference between the ABT one and the POB one is that ABT was in a tight situation, re both box office and artistic direction at the time, and the POB is truly solid -- and in particular Brigitte Lefebvre is truly impressive. Hermann was impressive in her way, but her policy of keeping ABT alive at all costs was gutsy but in fact artistically desperate.

Paul, Cynthia Harvey and John Gardner ( Amanda Mc Kerrows husband?) a Pas de deux in Fred Wisemens film Dance. I also videod it off TV, but not knowing it was to be broadcast,I missed quite a lot of it. All I remember is it was very long.

Share this post


Link to post
I just bought a copy of the film from Zipporah and am looking forward to seeing Ms Hermann again...

Does anyone know where Jane Herman is now?

Also, I thought it was Alexandra Ferri in the R&J pas de deux but don't know who the partner was. There are no credits at the end except choreographers and tech, but I'm looking at the recording I made back in '95.

Share this post


Link to post

Jane H. is still in NYC.

she was at the Met the other night for LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS - maybe w/ Bolle and Kent?

the Romeo to Ferri's Juliet, is if mem. serves Julio Bocca?

Share this post


Link to post
the Romeo to Ferri's Juliet, is if mem. serves Julio Bocca?

Yes, Bocca dances a few sequences of R&J with Ferri . As I recall it includes some of both the Balcony PDD as well as the Bedroom PDD. Again, going from memory the performance this was filmed at was in Copenhagen.

Share this post


Link to post

It would be wonderful if this ended up on iTunes.

Share this post


Link to post
I'm spinning this thread off the Center Stage/Billy Elliot conversation/debate because dufray, Cabriole and Little Swan mentioned the documentary film BALLET by the great Frederick Wiseman. Let's put the Hollywood fluff aside and talk about a real film. (I know I'm comparing apples & oranges: but isn't summer the time for fruit salad!?)

I taped it off PBS years ago and it is without a doubt the most fascinating, satisfying documentary ever made about a professional company. The work ethic, joy, creativity, struggles, and tons of rehearsals that make up a ballet dancers life are brought to the screen without a word of narration. You are a fly on the wall of the ABT studios. Amazing stuff...

I will view it once more this weekend and try to give more details.

Wiseman's Company, Zipporah Films

http://www.zipporah.com/28.html

rents out the 16mm film for $200. or sells a video for $400. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you put together a group of balletomanes (one of whom has access to a projector) you are in for a treat. As Cabriole suggests, first check with your libray or local college dance dept.

And no, I do not know who that young dancer is; hoping someone does.

Cheers,

Watermill

I also taped it from TV many years ago. I transferred it to DVD and watched it last night. Yes, it is a remarkable documentary. I was with ABT back during the GOLDEN YEARS of Makarova, Nage, Bujones, Van Hammel, etc.

But unfortunately there are NO CREDITS on this doc. I think the final R&J is Alexandra Ferri but could be mistaken. I have NO IDEA who the male partner is. Been trying to find out with no luck. PLEASE, does anybody know??

Share this post


Link to post
the Romeo to Ferri's Juliet, is if mem. serves Julio Bocca?

Yes, Bocca dances a few sequences of R&J with Ferri . As I recall it includes some of both the Balcony PDD as well as the Bedroom PDD. Again, going from memory the performance this was filmed at was in Copenhagen.

Are you sure Bocca? It was filmed in 1991 so that makes him how old? I get 19, So he would be 38 now if I am right.

Unfortunately he doesn't have many more years of bravura.

Share this post


Link to post

One of my favorite scenes in this is Jaffe being coached by Kolpakova (sp).

Share this post


Link to post
the Romeo to Ferri's Juliet, is if mem. serves Julio Bocca?

Yes, Bocca dances a few sequences of R&J with Ferri . As I recall it includes some of both the Balcony PDD as well as the Bedroom PDD. Again, going from memory the performance this was filmed at was in Copenhagen.

Are you sure Bocca? It was filmed in 1991 so that makes him how old? I get 19, So he would be 38 now if I am right.

Unfortunately he doesn't have many more years of bravura.

Bocca was born in 1967 so he would have been 24 in 1991 and is 43 today. Without actually checking the film, I'm pretty sure he partners Ferri.

Share this post


Link to post

I enjoyed that too- my other favorite is watching Michael Somes rehearse Symphonic Variations.

Share this post


Link to post