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Here is what I have and can recommend:

1. Swan Lake: Royal Ballet, with Natalia Makarova and Anthony Dowell, Kultur video. Lovely sets and costumes, and for me it is the definitive version.

2. La Bayadere: Also Royal Ballet, with Altynai Asylmuratova, Irek Mukhamedov, Darcey Bussell. All three principals are wonderful, and very well cast I think. Also from Kultur.

3. Balanchine Library, Volume 1: Tzigane, Divertimento 15, and 4 Temperaments: All of the videos in this series are good, but this is, IMO, the best. I ordered mine from NYCB's gift shop online, and I plan on someday owning all of them. They are, however, more expensive than the Kultur videos.

4. Coppelia, Australian Ballet, Kultur. This one is probably the only truly first-rate Coppelia video out there right now. Lisa Pavane and Greg Horsman are the leads.

5. Le Corsaire, ABT--Not a very serious or accessible ballet, but it's loads of fun to watch. I taped mine off PBS but I think Kultur sells it.

6. Mariinsky Ballet-Kirov Classics: Nice "mixed bill" video that includes Chopiniana [aka Les Sylphides], an avant garde version of Petrushka that I just fast-forward through, Barber's Adagio, Le Corsaire pdd, The Fairy Doll, Markitenka [aka Le Vivandiere], and Paquita. It's a good way to see many of the Kirov's stars. It too is from Kultur.

I have other videos as well, but these seem to be the best deals for my money, as I too am a student and have a very limited income.

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Don Q with Nureyev and the Australian Ballet is one of my very favorites. I think he is better here than in any other video I've seen him on. Lucette Aldous who plays Kitri is very vivacious, although I will leave it to others who know better than I how good she is. I suspect that she could have been better. Robert Helpmann has the title role, and co-directed it with Nureyev. It is even listed in one of my video guides as being "not just for ballet fans." It has been recently remastered, but I have seen some of the old copies still on sale, most recently at the Kennedy Center gift shop. If you buy it, make sure you get one of the new ones; when I first bought it two years ago, I kept playing with the controls on the tv and video to get a better picture! Silly me.

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If you check into eBay (www.ebay.com), type in Ballet VHS and hit "enter", you will be able to pick up alot of these videos at a price that will fit a student's budget! That's how I built up most of my Balanchine Library - buying them all retail would have cost me a small fortune! :)

Also, you might want to try www.half.com

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It should be mentioned that many public libraries carry ballet videos. Rental is free.

My favorite is volume one of the Balanchine collection. I intend to purchase my own copy becuase it stands up to repeated viewings.


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Thanks, you guys! I'll keep an eye on ebay, and go to our library soon. I think that it is very important to watch great dancers to become a better dancer.

Also, what about music? I want a complete recording of swan lake, and other ballets but I can only find them in records. Does anyone know if there are more...recent, shall we say...recordings?

Thanks, this is very helpful.

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The Live from Lincoln Center broadcast (1976-77?) of 'Giselle' with Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov is wonderful. Makarova and Baryshnikov are sublime throughout, and conductor John Lanchberry breathes new life into the otherwise forgettable Adam score. I think it's still available on VHS.

I also have a video of Ashton's 'Cinderella' from 1969 with the Royal Ballet starring Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. Sibley and Dowell are lovely, but Ashton and Robert Helpmann almost steal the show as the wicked stepsisters. I hope this is still available on video.


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Balanchine Celebration Vol. I & II

ABT's "Swan Lake" with Makarova & Nagy

ABT's "Giselle" with Makarova & Baryshnikov

ABT's "Don Q" with Barsyshnikov

NYCB's "The Nutcracker" in DVD

The tapes are wearing out due to repeated viewings, hope they'll be republished in DVD.

Have anyone seen Berlin Staatsoper Ballet's "Swan Lake" with Scherzer and Daniel Barenboim conducting? It's out on DVD.

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Swan Lake - there is one beautiful recording with Antal Dorati's conducting, but I don't know if you will be able to find it. Look for it if you can. Whatever you do, however, stay away from the release of the Boston Symphony orchestra's recording with a big no. 2 on the cover.

The Nutcracker - for a concert/listening, try the Valery Gergiev recording. Otherwise, the Antal Dorati with the Royal Concertabough - NOT the LSO, is a good one for practicing to.

Sleeping Beauty - there is a nice one with Leanard Bernstien conducting.

Anything else? :)

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1) Anyuta with E. Maximova

2) Swan Lake with Makarova and Dowell

3) Giselle with Fracci and Bruhn

4) Romeo and Juliet with Fontyn and Nuryev

5) La Bayadere (POB) with Platel, Guerin, Hilaire

6) Swan Lake (POB) with Pietragalla and Dupond

and there's a lot more!!

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Guest Veronika

BalletNut, re: the Makarova/Baryshnikov "Giselle," please see my post about its being on sale in the "Video Swapshop" Forum!

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In addition to the more traditional ballets that have been mentioned here be sure to see Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake with Adam Cooper as the Swan and Scott Ambler as the Prince.

From the first moment you see the Swan you'll know this is not your mother's Swan Lake! :)

Also I highly reccomend the Royal Ballets Mayerling with Vivianna Durante and Irek Mukhamedov - a powerful story that will knock your socks off.


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Bourne's is the version where the men are swans, but I don't see that as crossing dressing. And there were women in the ballet too!

It is an innovative take on the Oedipel story with incredible acting and dancing.

The DVD is awesome and the music is great.

Swans after all are not sweetness and light animals. They are fierce and strong and I think that men doing the roles played that up nicely.

A brief moment is shown at the end of Billy Elliot.

Critcs and fans alike loved this ballet.

Now, that said, Eck's version with bald swans and a destruction of the music is plain awfu - got and still gets horrid reviews.


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My favorite ballet video is Don Quixote danced by the Kirov ballet with Tatiana Terekhova and Faroukh Ruzimatov in the proncipal roles.This is a wonderful video,very entertaining and excellent dancing.Altynai Asylmuratova and Yulia Makhalina dance the parts of Street Dancer and Dryad Queen.

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Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet, with Ferri and Eagling. I'll never tire of watching Ferri - she's the standard I hold all other Juliets too. And I think Eagling is wonderful, though I thought since Ferri could pull off a 14 year old so authentically, RB should have found a Romeo closer to her age.

Every scene is fun to watch. When I was younger, in performances I'd sit impatiently through the market scenes, the ballroom scene, etc to get to the R+J bits. But with this version, I get as much pleasure from the dancing harlots as I get from the romance.

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Re: Don Q by Australian Ballet with Nureyev. Did anyone notice that the dance was simply too fast many times - jerky and strange looking? Also there were places where the dance did not match the music - actually lots of places, but especially when there were hand claps and foot stomps - the image was behind the music! It is really obvious in the very last scene and in the "bar" scene.

Even with as many raves this DVD got I still sent my back to Amazon. The dancers looked like they were on speed.


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I haven't seen this version. I have the original issue video and saw it when it was released in the theaters. They may have changed something since, but originally, yes, the dancers turned fast. That's the way they turned. Nureyev was a whirlwind.

Mel, you saw this one. Did you think it had been "enhanced?"

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