This week marks two years since we’ve entered the global Covid-19 pandemic. Roughly, this week two years ago South Africa entered a two-week hard lockdown in which everyone had to make peace with (and find new ways) to ‘stay safe at home’. We’ll always remember the zoom meetings and online dance classes, home marathons and viral WhatsApp banana bread recipe chain messages that characterized this time. And although most of us breathed a sigh of relief when the lockdown levels were gradually lifted and we could dance together in person again, this COVID-19 pandemic time has also resulted in wonderful online resources that we could only have dreamed of before.
Here is a list of some of our favourite online dance-related ‘entertainment’ options for young and old, just in time for the last week of this school holiday period we are in, to inspire fresh inspiration and dance dreams for the rest of the year. We’ve aimed to include short and longer options, as well as options for a younger and older audience, so there is bound to be something for everyone!
Coppelia- Full Length Ballet by Bolshoi Theater ft. Natalia Osipova
This excellent version of Coppelia features the magical music by Léo Delibes and choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon, with all the best attributes this comical, charming ballet has to offer. In short, the ballet is set in a Polish village. The two main characters, Swanhilda and Frantz are sweethearts. Swanhilda thinks Frantz is in love with Coppélia, a strange girl in the house of a dollmaker named Dr. Coppélius. Swanhilda discovers Coppélia is a doll. Dr. Coppélius tries to bring the doll to life using Frantz’s life force. Swanhilda saves her sweetheart’s life, and the two live happily ever after.
This version is danced by the Bolshoi Theater in Russia, featuring Natalia Osipova, current principal of the Royal Ballet in London in the lead role.
Duration : About 2 Hours
The Enchanted Toy Shop by John Clifford
Although not the original La Boutique Fantasque, this children’s ballet is done by The Portland Ballet, (a school and training and company) in Portland Oregon. It is an adapted version of the old Ballets Russes ballet by Leonid Massine. John Clifford used the same score as the original LA BOUTIQUE FANTASQUE, but added more Rossini music and made quite a different story. It starts off in a Toy Shop like the original, but then follows a new story about the shopkeeper and his downtrodden wife. There are also some new characters like “Pinocchio” and the “Blue Fairy”…and even two acrobatic “French Poodles.” The music is absolutely beautiful and the production is quite extravagant and of a high standard for a youth ballet.
Duration : About 45 minutes
Cinderella – Full Length Ballet by Opéra national de Paris
A modern ‘Hollywood’ take on one of the old ballet classics, this version of Cinderella features the original majestic music of Prokoviev, but replaces Zakharov’s 1940 choreography with Rudolf Nureyev’s version. The ballet is highly entertaining with an excellent technical performance, great acting, a fast pace and a gatsby/old hollywood style wardrobe and set design.
Duration : About 2 Hours
A Ballerina’s Tale (2015)
Duration : About 1 Hour, 25 Minutes
Sometimes I Dream Of Flying
The moving documentary of crossing the borders of one’s aspirations in order to fulfill one’s dreams. The film follows a young, outstanding and talented dancer who has lived, since childhood, in the hall of residence of the Ballet School. From the moment she becomes the best graduate of the year her international career in dancing opens up ahead of her. The modest and exceptionally hard-working Weronika aims continuously for perfection. Her free time from classes in the theater is spent working unceasingly on her body. Her private life, pain, loneliness and exhaustion remain somewhere in the background, brushed aside, until she suffers from a serious contusion just 2 days before her performance at the Berlin Opera that would have been so vital to her career. Pictures for the film were shot over the course of 6 years. Most of the action takes place in the Warsaw Ballet School, Warsaw National Opera, The Ballet School and Small Theatre of St. Petersburg, The Carmen de Robles Academy of Dance in Las Palmas and two theaters of Berlin Opera. (Taken from: polishfilmla.org)
Please note: This is a foreign language film with english subtitles, but is a must for anyone considering a career in ballet.
First Position (2011)
Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, where lifelong dreams are at stake. In the final round, with hundreds competing for only a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected. Bess Kargman’s award-winning documentary, First Position, follows six young dancers as they prepare for a chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries, all while navigating the drama of adolescence. A showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, First Position paints a thrilling and moving portrait of the most gifted young ballet stars of tomorrow. (Taken from: documentaryarea.tv)
Leap: Ballerina Full Movie (2016)
This heartwarming animation takes place in 1880s France and follows a poor orphan girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina and gets a chance to audition for the celebrated school of the Paris Opera Ballet. It challenges dancers with the ‘why’ behind dance as Felicie finds her way in the world of dance. It is filled with basic ballet terms and moves that will inspire any lovers of ballet, young and old.
Duration : About 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Duration : About 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
This charming animation series is especially for little (pre-school) ballerinas who love to dance. The short episodes are all Angelina, a young dancer mouse and the adventures she has with her friends in and out of dance class.
Episode 1: Angelina Keeps the Peace
After learning all about Jazz dance, improvisation and poetry, Angelina and her friends get an opportunity to show everyone what they’ve learned.
Episode 2: Angelina and the tummy Butterflies
Alice is nervous about getting up in front of the group and gets “tummy butterflies.” Angelina helps her best friend through her troubles and in the end, Alice performs perfectly!
Episode 3: Angelina’s Cheese Roll
AZ wants to perform the “Cheese Roll” dance just like his Granddad taught him. But he finds that he keeps getting it wrong and just can’t do it. Angelina suggests breaking it down into little steps and practicing a little at a time.
Episode 4: Angelina Cheerleader
When Marco is chosen to run in The Chipping Cheddar Mouse Marathon nobody is more delighted than Angelina. But her over enthusiastic support makes Marco very self-conscious.
Episode 5: Angelina’s Lunch Table
All of Angelina’s friends are vying for her attention and Angelina struggles to find time for everyone. In the end, Angelina learns a valuable lesson in friendship.
So even if COVID has interrupted our lives in the worst way, it has also blessed us with easy access to free, high-quality dance inspiration resources for young and old like those mentioned above. Obviously, watching online is no match to watching a ballet in real life, so if you have the opportunity to support a local company, especially after this pandemic, please do so! But we believe the more you watch ballet, the better for your technique and passion- so when at home, put these on and let your dance dreams grow!
Look out for more resources coming your way soon!
Until then, may you never lose the hop(e) in your step…