Ballet films have brought the world of dance into our everyday lives. They allow us to glimpse the pain and sweat of the body pushed to its limits, the tension of backstage rivalries and the sheer joy of the beautiful art. Here we look at the top five ballet films of all time...
1. Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky
2. Save The Last Dance, directed by Thomas Carter
Save The Last Dance is a classic teen movie and has one hell of a sound track (though, this may just be our 13-year-old selves talking). After her mother’s death, Sara gives up on ballet, moves in with her estranged father and transfers to an urban Chicago school. At her new high school, Sara is one of a handful of white students but quickly befriends Derek, who teaches her how to put her ballet moves to hip hop. It’s cringeworthy but we love it.
3. Billy Elliot directed by Stephen Daldry
Set in north-eastern England during the coal miner’s strike, it stars Jamie Bell as 11-year-old Billy, an aspiring dancer dealing with the negative stereotype of the male ballet dancer. It’s heartwarming stuff.
4. The Turning Point directed by Herbert Ross
This is the story of two ballet-obsessed women. Deedee left her promising dance career to become a mother and now runs a ballet school in Oklahoma. Emma stayed and became a prima ballerina with the American Ballet Company. Both want what the other has. It was nominated for eleven Oscars and is well worth a watch.
5. The Red Shoes directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
This movie is a story within a story. It’s about a young ballerina who joins an established dance company and becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called The Red Shoes, itself based on the fairy tale ‘The Red Shoes’ by Hans Christian Anderson. It’s breathtaking, terrifying and surreal – all at the same time.
If you like these, you should try Love Tomorrow, which is out on DVD from the 2 December. Directed by Christopher Payne, it was the winner of Best UK Feature at Raindance Film Festival and was choreographed by the well-known Ballet Boyz.