My Favorite Ballet Movies

Center Stage

When I was a kid, I studied ballet at a local dance school and performed in many recitals. I loved the graceful moves, the strict rules, the French names for everything and the beautiful costumes.

Trophies lined my shelves, I had pictures of myself en pointe, and somewhere there exists home movies of my solo routines.

Even as an adult, no matter what city I live in, I always find a place to take a ballet class now and then. I long for the perfect dancer’s body. I must own every ballet workout video on the market.

There are certain movies about ballet that I enjoy watching every time they are on television.

Here are scenes from my favorite movies about ballet in hopes that they will inspire you to watch them, too.

The Turning Point
The ultimate ballet movie with the best acting and most realistic dancing. Starring Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine, and Leslie Browne with Mikhail Baryshnikov in a supporting role. Nominated for 11 Oscars.
(The music doesn’t match the footage. I recommend you mute it.)

Center Stage
A group of students study at a prestigious New York ballet academy and vie for spots in its elite company. This movie was not going to win any acting awards, but the dance sequences are fun, the cast is charming, and it’s a good behind-the-scenes look at the hard work and commitment that goes into a career in dance.

Billy Elliot
Set during the Miner’s Strike of 1980’s England, a poor, young boy wants to study dance instead of take boxing lessons. Needless to say, his hard-as-nails Dad and brother do not understand. Jamie Bell should have won as Oscar. In this sequence, Billy expresses his anger and frustration through dance. It’s pure genious.

The Company
Neve Campbell worked her butt off, quite literally, to get this movie made. Unfortunately, it was nearly ruined by director Robert Altman. There is absolutely no plot but the dance sequences are beautiful. Here is Neve Campbell performing on an outdoor stage during a storm.

What are your favorite dance movies?

11 responses to “My Favorite Ballet Movies

  1. Cool. When I first began reading this post, I thought of Billy Elliot. One of my top faves from that year’s crop of movies. I have seen the Turning Point but not the others.

  2. Pingback: Pages tagged "neve campbell"

  3. In the video for turning point who does the music? I like it. I gotta have the song.

  4. It’s Sunday, Bloody Sunday by U2.

  5. Ballet movies—-
    La Mort Du Cygne
    Red Shoes
    Center Stage 1
    Turning Point
    Top Hat
    Singin In the Rain
    Swing Time
    Holiday Inn

    Ballet Children’s Books—-
    Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig—new fun book with great illustrations
    Lili at Ballet—Rachel Isadora popular children’s book author
    Angelina ballerina—very funny series
    Sugar Plum ballerinas—whoopi Goldberg
    Cinderella Ballet Mystery—Nancy Drew takes ballet
    Tuttus and Toes shoes—gong to ballet class
    Nina, Nina, Ballerina—everyone’s going to be in the dance recital

    Ballet Books—-
    Dancing on my grave
    A winter Season
    Dance of Sisters
    Soldiers of Beauty

    Dancing in the Wings—ballerina who worries that her feet are too big

  6. You have a beautiful Web site.
    There are lots of great gift ideas in your list.
    Thanks for posting.

  7. Thanks for your comments How did you manage to get your YouTube videos inserted so beautifully into your website. I tried over and over again on mine in all different ways and they never worked correctly. In the end I just decided to put in the YouTube URLs. I actually have some great musical dance sequences on the website under View Dance Video Excerpts but like i say you have to click on the URLs.

  8. Step up I think should also be included, it’s a more modern version and I even entertains those who say ballets a boring. It truly takes giant leaps (excuse the pun!) towards making ballet ‘cool’! Though I, though as a ballerina may be biased, already think it’s ‘cool’!

  9. stan mcfarland

    no one mentions the great ballet film:” The Story of Three Loves” with the marvelous Moira Shear and charming Leslie Caron (1953) Sorry it was never released on tape or dvd. Music featured Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini. I saw it soon after “The Red Shoes” and have been forever hooked ! Hope more young people will come to appreciate the amazing skill and moving beauty of the ballet dancer combined with wonderful music that surely you will always remember. The Arts can hopefully save our humanity and bring us together in a way that no religion has ever succeeded throughout history. Just think about it…Conflicting religious beliefs and ideology have forever divided humankind. To cite a few prime examples let’s consider the enslavement of Jews, the crucifixion of Jesus and early persecution of Christians, the “Crusades” which spanned four hundred years, the Holocaust ( 6 million because they were Jews), the Irish religious terrorism, and of course the current Islamic extremist movements to name but a few of the” biggies”. Contrast that with the Arts ability to bring people together in common appreciation and enjoyment of classical music, dance, theater, art, literature,etc, etc. all without the slightest consideration of the performer’s, composer’s, artist’s or author’s race, creed, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Obama is hopefully the beginning of a new era of tolerance and colorblind appreciation of talent and ability. What do you young cultured folks think???……………

  10. To Stan:

    I completely agree with you: the Arts, in all its forms, has an amazing power to bring people together. Look at the work Daniel Barenboim has done with the Divan Orchestra. Truly amazing, and what’s more, inspirational.

    I’m actually in the process of drafting my ph.d proposal on this topic (intersection of aesthetic output and politics). Would be interested to hear your – and anyone elses – views.

  11. ballet’s cool
    thanks for ballet movies