Q: As professionals, is it difficult to watch ballet-themed movies that are aimed at general audiences?
GM: Ballet movies in general have a lot of stereotypes, but I’ve enjoyed many of them. I would like to see a dance movie that is more realistic. One of my favorite films of all time is “The Red Shoes.” It has great performances and amazing cinematography. It asks the question of how can a dancer experience and portray greatness onstage and also have a full personal life — and as a woman, have kids and get married. In this day and age, people do it all the time.
DH: It’s hard to be objective as a dancer seeing a dance film. Once they start talking “ballet talk” in a movie, you know it is geared toward a general audience, which I can understand. There’s a sense of generality that dancers pick up on. … But there’s such a diversity of movies out there. “Center Stage” was very bubbly — the pop side of ballet. “Black Swan” is, of course, completely different.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.