Great Performances

La Danse: Le Ballet De L'Opera De Paris

Season 35, Episode 10 of 12

For his 38th film, master documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman turns his unblinking eye on one of the world's leading ballet companies, the Paris Opera Ballet. Cinematographer John Davey's camera roams the company's home at the vast Palais Garnier opera house from top to bottom, gliding down chandelier-laden corridors to the theater's labyrinthine underground chambers, pausing to observe from the sidelines of light-drenched rehearsal studios, then slipping past the plush scarlet seats of the opulent theater to record a dazzling selection of final performances. The film devotes the bulk of its time to watching rigorously trained young dancers performing rehearsals and performances for seven ballets: Genus by Wayne McGregor, Le Songe de Medee by Angelin Preljocaj, La Maison de Bernarda by Mats Ek, Paquita by Pierre Lacotte, Casse Noisette by Rudolph Nureyev, Orphee and Eurdice by Pina Bausch, and Romeo and Juliette by Sasha Waltz. In addition, the documentary also records the behind-the-scenes activity involved in administering the company, along with the collaborative work of choreographers, ballet masters, dancers, musicians, and costume, set and lighting designers.

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