12 Movies Every Ballet Lover Should See

29 February 2016 //

When you love ballet, you love every aspect of it. The behind the scenes, the viral videos and the history behind your art. Here are a list of the 12 movies every ballet lover should see, ranging from documentaries to Oscar-nominated feature films.

1. "Ballet Russes"

A documentary following The Ballet Russes, a dance troupe in the early 20th century that redefined ballet and brought together the greatest artists of the day. The film includes interviews and home videos of the dancers that were a part of the group.

2. "White Nights"

Mikhail Baryshnikov and Greggory Hines (two of the greatest dancers of all time) star in this movie about a Russian ballet dancer that failed to defect to the United States and is continuing to try to get out of Soviet Russia. Baryshnikov does 11 pirrouttes and an avant-garde piece that he performs for Helen Mirren.

3. "Ballerina"

This documentary follows a young girl that has been accepted to Russia's Kirov Ballet. Although the entire film is in Russian, it's a fascinating inside look to the world of Russian ballet to see how these young dancers train.

4. "The Turning Point"

A former ballet dancer turned mom deals with her past and her jealousy of her daughter who is a current dancer. Shirely MacLaine stars in this film along with Mikhail Baryshnikov.

5. "Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq"

This documentary centers around Tanaquil Le Clercq, one of Balanchine's star ballerina's that was stricken with polio. It follows her journey after her illness and how ballet was never the same after.

6. "Center Stage"

This film from the early 2000's follows a group of dancers trying to make their way through the American Ballet Academy. The dancers struggle with body image, injuries and more.

7. "Step Up"

Step Up brings together ballet, hip hop and unrequited love. The film tells the story of a hip hop dancer and a ballet dancer that come to work together, fall in love and appreciate each other's dance forms.

8. "First Position"

This documentary follows young dancers competing for scholarships, positions in ballet companies and exposure in the Youth American Grand Prix competition.

9. "A Ballerina's Tale"

Misty Copeland has become a household name. As the first African-American ballerina for American Ballet Theater, Copeland has broken the mold and inspired countless young dancers.

10. "Mao's Last Dancer"

Ballet is an art that changes lives, as shown in Mao's Last Dancer. The film is based off of an autobiography about a young Chinese dancer that leaves communist China for dance in the United States.

11. "Ballet 422"

Ballet 422 is a documentary about a New York City Ballet dancer turned choreographer, who has been commissioned to create a new work for the company. The movie follows Pecks creation of the ballet.

12. "Black Swan"

Nominated for Best Picture, Black Swan features Natalie Portman struggling to find her place in a prestigious ballet company.