"Ballet's Greatest Hits–YAGP Gala" played at AFI Silver Theater last Sunday, is remarkable for bringing to life what people love most about ballet. The still shots of dancers perfectly embodied in mid-air remind one of how perfectly graceful these athletes are. Their grace brings an ethereal sense of power to a long standing dance profession which will hopefully never die out. The Nutcracker was delved into as one of the most popular ballets of all time, due to its storyline and the playful, elegant qualities of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's score that brings a person to another world, that is filled with sugar, light, and its own magical dangers.
The cross cultural affinities of ballet were addressed with discussions of Flames of Paris, a Soviet ballet of the French Revolution. Though, the dancers' movements were basic, (at least based on the clips shown) the intrinsic cultural values were of utmost precedence for the piece. The historical accounts of Giselle were interesting as the first dancer to play Giselle, Isabelle Ciaravola, is still so well known today. The lead dancer for the Willis was interviewed, and the otherworldly elements of the piece and the psychological meanings behind them are commented on by the dancer(s).
Overall, the film is fun, interesting, and of great cultural and historic value. That is, once one recovers from the horror of watching ballet via film and not live. The still shots of the dancers in air, helped balance the ballet on film aspect. Seeing is not believing, as one may see, blink, and still not quite find to be true, the wonderful love for life and beauty that is ballet.