The Paris Opera Ballet is one of the world’s great ballet companies. The film follows the rehearsals and performances of seven ballets: Genus by Wayne McGregor, Le Songe de Medée by Angelin Preljocaj, La Maison de Bernarda by Mats Ek, Paquita by Pierre Lacotte, Casse Noisette by Rudolph Nureyev, Orphée and Eurydice by Pina Bausch, and Romeo and Juliette by Sasha Waltz. The film shows the work involved in administering the company and the coordinated and collaborative work of choreographers, ballet masters, dancers, musicians, and costume, set, and lighting designers.
If you don’t already swoon over this art form, [La Danse] will make you wonder what took you so long.
–Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“La Danse,” however, does more than offer intimate access to great dancers. It showcases performers like Nicolas Le Riche and Agnès Letestu and choreography by Rudolf Nureyev and Pina Bausch, but it also ventures beyond the stage and studios and into sewing rooms, cafeterias and administrative offices. Like most of Mr. Wiseman’s movies it is above all a portrait of an institution.
–Dennis Lim, The New York Times
Yes, this is one of the finest dance films ever made, but there’s more to it than that.
–A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Wiseman, with evident pleasure, turns back to the dancers, whom he photographs not in the manner of the commercial cinema, where bodies are broken up into threshing limbs, but in full frame, top to bottom, with space around them, so that we can see the incredible moves the dancers are capable of, along with, inevitably, their mistakes, missteps, and gradual improvements.
–David Denby, The New Yorker
In “La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet,” august documaker Frederick Wiseman turns his steady gaze on the titular Gallic dance company to create a sprightly look at an institution adapting to changing times.
–Leslie Felperin, Variety
released 2009, 158 minutes
Please note that LA DANSE can only be shipped within English-speaking North America
The Last Letter