Prima Ballerina
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In the grand tradition of the Ballet Russes comes Bertrand Normand's portrait of five Russian ballerinas from theMariinski Theatre, formerly known as the Kirov. Behind any great ballerina lies the discipline and rigour thatcomes from decades of training and practice; and Russia's pre-eminent dancers -- superstars such as Nijinsky,Baryshnikov and Pavlova -- established the reputation of Russian dancers as the best in the world. The dancersprofiled in Ballerina are uniquely individual -- tough, insightful and exceptionally talented; onstage they revealno hint of the sweat, pain and hard… More
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© First Run Features
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Dance aficionados will be sent over the moon by this compelling documentary from director Bertrand Norman, chronicling what it takes to be a prima ballerina in the Mariinski Theatre."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"The movie is an admirable look into the venerable St. Petersburg company and how dancers thrive or just survive in the physically challenging world of dance."
‑ Leba Hertz, San Francisco Chronicle
"Behind-the-curtains has never been more ravishing nor more rewarding"
‑ Jules Brenner,
"It's too levelheaded, too aesthetically old-fashioned and academic."
‑ Robert Levin, Critic's Notebook
"Even those skeptical of ballet will likely be entranced."
‑ Tricia Olszewski, Washington City Paper
"As dazzling as they can be in performance, the ballerinas are even more breathtaking when a camera catches them alone in the shadows, dancing only for themselves."
‑ Janice Page, Boston Globe
"A jewel of a documentary."
‑ Sarah Kaufman, Washington Post
"This rare, behind-the-scenes dance film, which is more a profile of dancers than of the dance, shows that Russia and its famed Kirow are still the world's core of ballet."
‑ Jennifer Merin,
"While the mysterious air of the ballerina is preserved, a chance to reveal the real people behind the iconic, ethereal image is squandered."
‑ Stan Hall, Oregonian
"Not as perceptive as Etoiles or as ... entertaining as Ballets Russes, [but] still a glimpse into a priviledged, ruthlessly demanding world few outsiders ever get to see."
‑ Maitland McDonagh, Miss FlickChick
"Ballerina is most memorable, not surprisingly, in capturing these women on the move, whether dancing in full costume on the Mariinsky stage or practicing endlessly in the theater's rehearsal rooms."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Such a brief glimpse into these women's lives and art whets the appetite for more; alas, Ballerina ends far too quickly, leaving only their willowy shadows behind."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"... in its simplistic, by-the-book delivery, Ballerina does give an inkling of the blood and sweat hidden underneath the ethereal beauty of classical dance."
‑ Beverly Berning,
"...Ballerina looks behind the scenes offer a closer look at the system of selection, training and rehearsal which keeps Russian ballet the envy of the world."
‑ Sarah Boslaugh, Playback:stl
"Anyone who knows about ballet will find much to recognize in the lives of these young women, but for those who do not, the film will be a revelation."
‑ R. M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
More reviews for Prima Ballerina on Rotten Tomatoes