It was two years ago when I saw the Alberta Ballet company perform George Balanchine’s Serenade, one of the greatest ballet masterpieces of the 20th century. For those of you who are unaware of who Balanchine was, I can say without a doubt that he was the most influential ballet choreographer of the 20th century, whose vision for ballet revolutionized the form in America and beyond. Born January 22, 1904, George Balanchine was the co-founder and ballet master of the New York City ballet, and to this day, his many ballets are performed in cities all over the world including our own. This month marks the 30th anniversary of his death.
The Dancer documentarySince I don’t get many opportunities to watch ballet, I find that I am always looking for other sources to feed my ballet addiction. To my delight, I discovered not too long ago that the Calgary Public Library has a resource called Dance in Video in its E-library.
Dance in Video features hundreds of hours of video performances, documentaries, interviews and instructional footage from influential dancers and companies covering a variety of genres such as ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary. Coincidently, I discovered that a Swedish documentary that I had bought on DVD called The Dancer is available for free through Dance in Video! The documentary follows several dancers of the Royal Swedish ballet as they struggle with the stresses and joys of perfecting their craft and rising to the top.
The Calgary Public Library also has a great collection of ballet related DVDs. One excellent film with Canadian content that comes to my mind is Ballet High, a documentary about the graduating class of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division.