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Nigel Wattis's documentary on Sylvie Guillem is available on Amazon. Called "Sylvie Guillen -At Work & Portrait". It's an Arthaus DVD released in late February. It looks like another essential item, joining what is, in my case, an already over-long queue of DVDs to acquire.

Amazon.co.uk provides more information than Amazon.com:

"Sylvie Guillem joined the corps de ballet of the Paris Opera when she was just fifteen and earned the distinction of Prima Ballerina within a mere four years. At the age of nineteen, she became an étoile in Nureyev's Swan Lake. It shows her dedication to perfection, but also reveals that her meteoric rise to the pinnacle of her profession has left her refreshingly unspoilt. This film shows the prima ballerina in her daily round of classes, rehearsals and performances, revealing her dedication to perfection. Guillems preparation for Nureyevs Raymonda, her first performances in Rudi van Dantzigs Four Last Songs and William Forsythes In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, and her appearance at a gala, dancing Béjarts La Luna, are all recorded for posterity in this film.


Sylvie Guillem is a dance superstar whose breathtaking technique ranks her beside the likes of Nureyev and Baryshnikov. She rarely agrees to interviews but co-operated fully with director Nigel Wattis for this profile. The programme centres on film of Guillem rehearsing and performing a range of pieces, both contemporary and classical, which display her astonishing virtuosity. Guillem talks about her work with some of the world's most interesting and acclaimed choreographers. Her sharp intelligence and intimate knowledge of their work, as well as her insights into the world of dance, are fascinating and informative. Maurice Béjart, Mats Ek, Anthony Dowell and critics John Percival and Clement Crisp are among the contributors who discuss Ms Guillem's remarkable talent, career and personality."

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The subject of this set of documentaries merits great interest. However, the documentary called "At Work", by Andre S. Labarthe, is pretentious. She deserves a better representation of her thoughts and work. The documentary by Wattis, called "Portrait", is interesting but only touches the surface.

One hears often about her personality, and of her extensions. What struck me most, in watching this documentary, is her physical strength, particularly in the Mats Ek piece.

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