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Documentary on ABT by Ric Burns


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The Ric Burns documentary on the occasion of ABT's 75th anniversary will be broadcast on PBS on Friday, May 15. As usual, I assume, check your local listings.

http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwtv/article/Thirteen-to-Present-New-Ric-Burns-Documentary-AMERICAN-BALLET-THEATRE-AT-75-515-20150114

In the list of people featured in the film, I found it interesting that Baryshnikov's name is missing. Certainly his presence as a dancer at ABT from 1974-78 and as Artistic Director from 1980-89 was hugely influential, both in bringing in audiences and in shaping the company for a time. It's possible he will be in the film -- just found it interesting that he's not mentioned in this promo.

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At least he's mentioned as appearing in some footage, but not to be interviewed is indeed a big omission (unless Baryshnikov declined to participate):

"Combined with hundreds of carefully curated stills from archives across the country and rare footage of ballet icons Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Twyla Tharp and Mikhail Baryshnikov, American Masters: American Ballet Theatre at 75provides a comprehensive inside look at American Ballet Theatre and the world of professional ballet."

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Here's the official press release:

Ric Burns' New Documentary

American Ballet Theatre at 75

Premieres Nationwide on THIRTEEN's

American Masters Series Friday, May 15 on PBS in

Honor of the Company's 75th Anniversary

Connect with more than 200 cultural icons at pbs.org/americanmasters

THIRTEEN's American Masters series teams up with Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Ric Burns to co-produce a new documentary about American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in honor of its 75th anniversary.

American Masters: American Ballet Theatre at 75 premieres nationwide Friday, May 15, 2015 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Delving into the rich history of one of the world's preeminent ballet companies, Burns combines intimate rehearsal footage, virtuoso performances and interviews with American Ballet Theatre's key figures: artists pivotal to the company's formation, including Alicia Alonso and the late Donald Saddler and Frederic Franklin; contemporary luminaries, including dancers Susan Jaffe and Julie Kent, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky and artistic director Kevin McKenzie; past and present stars Misty Copeland, Gillian Murphy, Marcelo Gomes and Hee Seo; dance historian and author Jennifer Homans; and prominent dance critics Anna Kisselgoff and the late Clive Barnes.

"The story of American Ballet Theatre, and the breathtaking rise of dance in the U.S. over the last three-quarters of a century, is one of the most inspiring stories in the cultural world," says Burns. "Ballet is the most poignantly ephemeral and expressive of all the arts, both earthbound and transcendent. And ABT, indisputably one of the greatest dance companies in the world, has torn down an incredible number of barriers, welcoming choreographers of every kind and dancers from around the world."

"As we approach our 75th year, it is a tremendous honor to have Ric Burns and American Masters illuminate ABT's history in such a rich and meaningful way," said Rachel Moore, CEO of American Ballet Theatre. "I am certain the expertise and care Ric and his team have devoted to this film will offer a fresh perspective on our art form and serve as a fitting testament to this cultural institution."

American Masters: American Ballet Theatre at 75 chronicles the rise of the company from its earliest days as a small, financially struggling collective, to its pinnacle as one of the most respected and revered dance companies in the world. Beginning film production in 2006, Burns was given unprecedented access to the company and shot hundreds of hours of original footage, including dramatic live performances in Paris and Havana, grueling rehearsals at ABT's flagship studio in New York City and slow-motion captures at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, N.Y.

The footage from Kaatsbaan features iconic dances by nine ABT dancers, including Copeland, Murphy, Seo, Gomes, Isabella Boylston, Herman Cornejo, Daniil Simkin, Joseph Gorak and Cory Stearns, chosen by McKenzie for their diversity and breadth of talent to illustrate the ABT dancers' formidable technicality, intricate artistry and nuanced emotion. Shot by Emmy-winning cinematographer Buddy Squires and a 30-person crew using Phantom Flex cameras - which capture up to 2,500 frames per second and brings to life even the smallest of movements - the footage brings a new dimension to the understanding of the extraordinary efforts made in the perfection of form: from the delicate placement of a fingertip to the perfectly executed jeté.

Combined with hundreds of carefully curated stills from archives across the country and rare footage of ballet icons Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Twyla Tharp and Mikhail Baryshnikov, American Masters: American Ballet Theatre at 75provides a comprehensive inside look at American Ballet Theatre and the world of professional ballet.

"Ric has created an entertaining film that will touch and transform both seasoned aficionados and those who never have seen a ballet," says Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters.

Launched in 1986, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards - including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series since 1999 and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special - 12 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. Now in its 29th season on PBS, the series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and also seen on the WORLD channel.

To take American Masters beyond the television broadcast and further explore the themes, stories and personalities of masters past and present, the series' companion website (http://pbs.org/americanmasters) offers streaming video of select films, interviews, photos, outtakes, essays and more.

American Masters: American Ballet Theatre at 75is a production of Steeplechase Films, Inc. and THIRTEEN Production LLC's American Masters for WNET. Ric Burns is producer and director. Bonnie Lafave is producer. Emily Williams and Mikaela Shwer are editors. Katie O'Rourke is co-producer for Steeplechase Films. Susan Lacy and Michael Kantor are executive producers.

Funding for American Masters: American Ballet Theatre at 75 is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Rosalind P. Walter, Lewis Ranieri, Madeline Eckett Oden, and Ruth and Harold Newman and Jody and John Arnhold. American Masters is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rhoda Herrick, Vital Projects Fund, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Jack Rudin, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation and public television viewers.

About WNET

As New York's flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore App where users can stream PBS content for free.

About Ric Burns & Steeplechase Films

Steeplechase Films is the award-winning production company founded by Ric Burns in 1989. Over the past two decades, it has become one of PBS' most trusted and honored collaborators, making a mainstay of bringing quality programming to public television and redefining the way audiences engage with American history. Director, writer and producer Ric Burnsbegan his career co-writing and producing the celebrated PBS series The Civil War and has since directed over 30 hours of award-winning films, including Coney Island, The Donner Party, New York: A Documentary Film, Ansel Adams, Eugene O'Neill, Andy Warhol, Into the Deep: America, Whaling and the World and Death and the Civil War.

American Masters websites:

http://pbs.org/americanmasters

http://facebook.com/americanmasters

http://pbsamericanmasters.tumblr.com

http://instagram.com/pbsamericanmasters

http://youtube.com/AmericanMastersPBS

#AmericanMasters

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Well, now I'm wondering what actual dances they've got here, at slow-motion and regular speeds.

To see a current great documentary on ABT watch Frederick Wiseman's "Ballet" filmed around 1992. The first part of this 3 hour film focuses on rehearsals in NYC. In the 2nd part, we follow ABT on tour. There is some great footage of Ferri and Bocca performing the R&J balcony and bedroom scenes.

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I know it's the 75th anniversary of ABT but this documentary surprises me. Why bother? If there's one thing I've learned from NY dance writers, its that City Ballet is to the NYC dance scene, what The Yankees are to Major League Baseball. They are the only thing that matters. Ask anyone.

ABT, DTH and everyone else might as well be performing in Podunk.

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To see a current great documentary on ABT watch Frederick Wiseman's "Ballet" filmed around 1992. The first part of this 3 hour film focuses on rehearsals in NYC. In the 2nd part, we follow ABT on tour. There is some great footage of Ferri and Bocca performing the R&J balcony and bedroom scenes.

That is a great film, isn't it. I love Wiseman...

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To see a current great documentary on ABT watch Frederick Wiseman's "Ballet" filmed around 1992. The first part of this 3 hour film focuses on rehearsals in NYC. In the 2nd part, we follow ABT on tour. There is some great footage of Ferri and Bocca performing the R&J balcony and bedroom scenes.

That is a great film, isn't it. I love Wiseman...

I like "Ballet" more than 'La Danse" probably because I've seen all those dancers dance and I'm familiar with them.

I, too, love Wiseman. At this last fall's film festival we saw "National Gallery" about the museum in London. Now I want to see 'At Berkeley" which everyone loves.

I know Ric Burns is a great filmmaker but a very different one than Wiseman. I'm sure we will get a glowing review of ABT's history (except for the great Baryshikov years that some seem to want to forget).

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I know it's the 75th anniversary of ABT but this documentary surprises me. Why bother? If there's one thing I've learned from NY dance writers, its that City Ballet is to the NYC dance scene, what The Yankees are to Major League Baseball. They are only thing that matters. Ask anyone.

ABT, DTH and everyone else might as well be performing in Podunk.

Take heart, tapfan! There are plenty of Mets fans out there in this world. And while the Mets ship doesn't arrive in port as often as it does for the Yankees, when it does finally arrive, there's no better feeling in all the world.

And I'll let Ballet Talkers puzzle out for themselves what I'm talking about! wink1.gif

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Take heart, tapfan! There are plenty of Mets fans out there in this world. And while the Mets ship doesn't arrive in port as often as it does for the Yankees, when it does finally arrive, there's no better feeling in all the world.

And I'll let Ballet Talkers puzzle out for themselves what I'm talking about! wink1.gif

Exactly! It takes no character to root for the Yankees. But it takes real guts to be a Mets fan. Guts and a high tolerance for pain!

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I know it's the 75th anniversary of ABT but this documentary surprises me. Why bother? If there's one thing I've learned from NY dance writers, its that City Ballet is to the NYC dance scene, what The Yankees are to Major League Baseball. They are the only thing that matters. Ask anyone.

ABT, DTH and everyone else might as well be performing in Podunk.

Ah, but Ric Burns is showing his film on PBS - nationwide. When is the last time NYCB toured anywhere (other than DC) in the US? I can't even remember. ABT still has a limited touring schedule to Chicago and southern California, along with DC. And, as Congress once said, ABT is our "national" ballet company.

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I know it's the 75th anniversary of ABT but this documentary surprises me. Why bother? If there's one thing I've learned from NY dance writers, its that City Ballet is to the NYC dance scene, what The Yankees are to Major League Baseball. They are the only thing that matters. Ask anyone.

NYCB -- actually Ballet Society -- started out as the Mets with ABT decidedly the Yankees: ABT performed the full-length ballets that people other than Balanchine cult members knew and had seen from the Royal Ballet and Russian company visits and had all of the big money defectors, with casting prominently displayed in half-to-full-page ads in the NYT, while Balanchine (begrudgingly) eventually allowed casting to be posted in the lobby the week of and the dancers to be ranked and not displayed in alphabetical order. They even had a mainstream Hollywood movie, "The Turning Point," which was targeted to adults, not kids, unlike "Center Stage," about a thinly disguised ABT.

ABT, DTH and everyone else might as well be performing in Podunk.

What an ironic comment: the main dance critic of the NY Times makes it a point to travel to Podunkland yearly and to write about his visits extensively.
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I know it's the 75th anniversary of ABT but this documentary surprises me. Why bother? If there's one thing I've learned from NY dance writers, its that City Ballet is to the NYC dance scene, what The Yankees are to Major League Baseball. They are the only thing that matters. Ask anyone.

NYCB -- actually Ballet Society -- started out as the Mets with ABT decidedly the Yankees: ABT performed the full-length ballets that people other than Balanchine cult members knew and had seen from the Royal Ballet and Russian company visits and had all of the big money defectors, with casting prominently displayed in half-to-full-page ads in the NYT, while Balanchine (begrudgingly) eventually allowed casting to be posted in the lobby the week of and the dancers to be ranked and not displayed in alphabetical order. They even had a mainstream Hollywood movie, "The Turning Point," which was targeted to adults, not kids, unlike "Center Stage," about a thinly disguised ABT.

ABT, DTH and everyone else might as well be performing in Podunk.

What an ironic comment: the main dance critic of the NY Times makes it a point to travel to Podunkland yearly and to write about his visits extensively.

Yes, it's nice to see that he actually knows there are other companies outside NYC, but when he's in NYC, his primary concern seems to be City Ballet, City Ballet, City Ballet and for some spice......... City Ballet. Seems to be true for other writers as well.

Like the Yankees, City Ballet seems to suck up most of the money and media attention.

Sportswriters have for years, tried to convince baseball fans that their obsession with anything and everything Yankees is good for all of baseball. Even when the Yankees stink, the media is obsessed.

And dance critics seem to feel the same way about City Ballet. It's as if ballet can't survive if we aren't constantly reminded of the relevance of NYC Ballet.

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Yes, it's nice to see that he actually knows there are other companies outside NYC, but when he's in NYC, his primary concern seems to be City Ballet, City Ballet, City Ballet and for some spice......... City Ballet. Seems to be true for other writers as well.

Like the Yankees, City Ballet seems to suck up most of the money and media attention.

Sportswriters have for years, tried to convince baseball fans that their obsession with anything and everything Yankees is good for all of baseball. Even when the Yankees stink, the media is obsessed.

And dance critics seem to feel the same way about City Ballet. It's as if ballet can't survive if we aren't constantly reminded of the relevance of NYC Ballet.

I'm not sure I agree with this analogy, but you might notice more reviews for NYCB in the NY Times because NYCB has more performances here than any other company. It has the Fall season, Nutcracker season, Winter season and Spring season, plus the SAB workshop performance. All multi-week seasons. ABT plays 2 weeks in the fall, 2 weeks at BAM for Nutcracker (which is leaving next year) and the Spring Season.

And I'm a sports journalist and this idea that the sports media is run by some Yankees-loving cabal is a huge mistake. Our current EIC and executive editor are Cubs fans smile.png

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ABT isn't dancing most of the time the critics are reviewing NYCB. ABT and NYCB can't dance simultaneously on the same stage in the Fall, and there's a less than four-week overlap in the late spring/early summer. I don't remember any media blackouts on ABT performances until NYCB ends its spring season, and there was plenty of press around the Ratmansky "Nutcracker" when it first came out.

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  • 1 month later...

Info on screening:

WORLD PREMIERE SCREENING OF

RIC BURNS’ NEW DOCUMENTARY

AMERICAN MASTERS: AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE

MONDAY, MARCH 23 AT 6:00 P.M.

AT THE KENNEDY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage hosts the World Premiere screening of American Masters: American Ballet Theatre on Monday, March 23 at 6:00 P.M. in the Terrace Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

American Masters: American Ballet Theatre, a feature-length documentary directed by award-winning filmmaker Ric Burns, celebrates ABT’s legacy through rehearsal footage, performances and interviews with key figures from the Company’s rich history. Beginning production in 2006, Burns was given unprecedented access to the Company and shot hundreds of hours of original footage, including live performances in Paris and Havana, studio rehearsals in New York City and slow-motion captures at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, New York. The film also includes hundreds of carefully curated still photographs and rare archival footage of ballet icons, providing a comprehensive look at American Ballet Theatre and the world of professional ballet.

Free general admission tickets will be distributed in the Kennedy Center’s States Gallery starting at approximately 5:30 P.M. on March 23, up to two tickets per person.

American Masters: American Ballet Theatre will have its national broadcast premiere on Friday, May 15 at 9:00 P.M. on PBS (check local listings). The film is a production of Steeplechase Films, Inc. and THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC’s American Masters for WNET. Ric Burns is producer and director. Bonnie Lafave is

producer. Emily Williams and Mikaela Shwer are editors. Katie O’Rourke is co-producer for Steeplechase Films. Susan Lacy and Michael Kantor are executive producers.

Funding for American Masters: American Ballet Theatre is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Rosalind P. Walter, Lewis Ranieri, Madeline Eckett Oden, and Ruth and Harold Newman and Jody and John Arnhold. American Masters is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rhoda Herrick, Vital Projects Fund, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Jack Rudin, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation and public television viewers.

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KCTS (Seattle-area affiliate) is showing this on the actual air date, which is unusual for them

"This program is scheduled to air Friday, May 15th at 11:30 PM or Sunday, May 17th at 12:00 PM noon."

Yes, 11:30 pm, but the rebroadcast is in the middle of the day -- opposite of their usual scheduling...

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Canadian TV providers generally give their customers an Eastern PBS station and a Pacific station from a city close to the border. As I've switched providers I've had experience with several PBS stations. Cobbled together thay make a pretty good channel, though I've found that no one station is adequate on its own. But even an iffy PBS station is nice to have, because today there is practically zero arts programming on Canadian television.

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Reminder that this film premieres today @ 6pm in DC's Kennedy Center. Entry is free but on a first-come basis, with passes (max 2 per person) handed out at 5:30pm in.......UPDATE: just arrived at the KC and was told that passes will be distributed in the upstairs hall that is adjacent to the Terrace Th. The showing will be in the Terrace Theatre.

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