Bringing Balanchine Back

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This film by Richard Blanchard follows the New York City Ballet (NYCB) on its visit to St Petersburg to perform at the annual White Nights Festival in the summer of 2003. The trip to St Petersburg carried special significance for NYCB since the Mariinsky Theatre is regarded as the ‘alma mater’ of the company’s founder, George Balanchine.

The film includes interviews with the NYCB’s dancers and artistic staff who reminisce about Balanchine and share their feelings as the trip unfolds. Blanchard also tracks through the NYCB’s program of works, showing excerpts from Serenade, Symphony in Three Movements, Symphony in C, Agon, Glass Pieces (chor. Robbins), Hallelujah Junction (chor. Martins) and Western Symphony. Among those interviewed in the program are Peter Martins and Valery Gergiev, principal dancers Alexandra Ansanelli, Darci Kistler, Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto, and the company’s ballet mistress Rosemary Dunleavy-Maslow. Reactions from members of the Russian audience and Mariinsky Ballet are also included, albeit with tiny subtitling!

While the flaw of this film is its frenetic editing, it is nevertheless a worthwhile record of the NYCB’s visit and ongoing commitment to the Balanchine repertoire.

Region Code: 1
Format & Aspect Ratio: NTSC, 16:9
Number of discs: 1 (also available from Amazon instant video)
Run time: 80 minutes
Studio: Kultur Video
Program date: 2004
DVD release date: 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7697-8906-4