Top 10 Ballet Film Favorites

According to Shirrel Rhoades his top 10 ballet film favorites, are as follows. You decide which is your favorite ballet film!

Ballet film top 10 according to Sherril Rhoades

Sherril Rhoades Rates Top 10 Ballet Film Favorites for 2011. Courtesy

In countdown mode:

10“Nijinsky” (1980)

George de la Peña stars as Vaslav Nijinsky, Leslie Browne as Romola, Alan Bates as Diaghilev and young Jeremy Irons portrays choreographer Michel Fokine, directed by Herbert Ross. The real Romola Nijinsky, his wife, had a writing credit in the film.

This is a beautiful film where Mr. de la Peña does an outstanding interpretation of the premier dancer of the Ballets Russes. He performs those gravity-defying leaps Nijinsky was known for with aplomb. A must-see movie for dancers and ballet aficionados alike.

De la Peña dances three of Nijinsky’s most famous performances: “Afternoon of a Faun,” “Spectre de la Rose,”  and “Scheherazade.”

• 9“Flashdance” (1983)

Go ahead and scoff, but I’m including this Cinderella story about a Pittsburg stripper who wants to get into ballet school. A star-making turn for Jennifer Beals.

Update: After posting this article, I saw the movie “Mao’s Last Dancer” and I really enjoyed it. I even read up on Li Cunxin and his career change after retiring from ballet. I plan to write an article on his successful new career. Stay posted.

I highly recommend this film. Click the image to read more about this movie.

• 8 “Mao’s Last Dancer” (2009)

This biopic about Li Cunxin, the Chinese dancer who defected to America, stars Birmingham Royal Ballet’s principal dancer Chi Cao, so you can count on some great dance sequences.

• 7 “The Company” (2003)

Neve Campbell shows her chops as a young ballerina poised to become a principal performer in a dance company. An ensemble piece directed by Robert Altman.

• 6“Hoffmanns Erzählungen”

Also known as “Tales of Hoffman” (1916) — Directed by Richard Oswald, this operatic fantasy based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s literary works features some great ballet as we meet the Nutcracker, the Mouse-King, and the Sandman.

• 5 “The Turning Point” (1977)

We witness a clash between an aging prima ballerina (Anne Bancroft) and a former dancer who gave up her career to raise a family (Shirley MacLaine), when the latter’s daughter joins a ballet company. The young dancer and her love interest (Leslie Browne and legendary Mikhail Baryshnikov) provide a breathtaking backdrop of ballet sequences for this drama about relationships.

• 4 “West Side Story” (1961)

Directors Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise joined forces with Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim to give us a modern ballet based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Forget the Montagues and the Capulets as you encounter the Jets and the Sharks on New York’s multi-ethnic West Side.

• 3 “An American in Paris” (1951)

Gene Kelley and Leslie Caron enthrall in this terpsichorean fantasy about a down-on-his-luck painter falling for an already-spoken-for gamin in the City of Lights.

• 2 “Black Swan” (2010)

This new psychological thriller stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as rival dancers who are two sides of the same coin. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, it’s about a young ballerina who sees her lead in “Swan Lake” threatened by a dancer who is both mysterious and seductive.

• 1 “The Red Shoes” (1948)

Probably the most famous ballet movie ever made, this is about a ballerina (Moira Shearer) torn between her love for a composer (Marius Goring) who can her offer nothing and an impresario (Anton Walbrook) who can further her career. The storyline echoes the Hans Christian Andersen tale about a girl who covets a pair of red shoes, only to find they will never stop dancing.

Shirrel Rhoades is an American writer, publisher, professor, filmmaker, and the former executive vice president of Marvel Entertainment. You’ll find his complete top 10 ballet film favorites review here.

My favorite ballet film of all time is The Turning Point. I was a young ballet student when it came out and it made a powerful impression on me.

Click the Like button below if you agree with any of Mr. Rhoades’ choices. Which ballet movie do you like the most? Share it by clicking below.

About Romy Macias, Senior Editor

Romy danced with the Ballet Clasico de Queretaro Fernando Jhones for 10 years having reached 1st soloist position. She presently takes on character roles and teaches at the company's junior academy. This site is a testament to her passion for classical ballet. You're invited to be part of our community and join in the joy for this amazing art form.

Speak Your Mind


The Best Classical Ballet News from Around the World