Videos of note (new and not)
Balanchine Essays: “Arabesque”
Directed by Merrill Brockway
Studio: The George Balanchine Foundation
NR; 45 minutes; 1995/2013
Former New York City Ballet principals Merrill Ashley and Suki Schorer created the Balanchine Essays video series to fulfill Balanchine’s desire for a visual dictionary of his technique. Beginning with “Arabesque,” the Essays demonstrate crucial aspects of Balanchine’s style and technique, and illustrate how he applied them in his ballets. The other videos in the series are “Port de Bras & Épaulement,” “The Barre” (parts 1 and 2), “Jumps” (parts 1 and 2), “Pirouettes & Other Turns,” “Passé & Attitude,” “Transfer of Weight,” and “Pointe Technique & Pas de Bourrée.”
Thelma’s Tap Notes: Tap Into Life: A Guide to Tap Dancing for Adults, Level I
Directed by Thelma Goldberg
Studio: Thelma’s Tap Notes/The Dance Inn
NR; 116 minutes; 2016
DSL tap columnist Thelma Goldberg shares her insights into teaching adults in this DVD, which provides nearly two hours of step-by-step demonstrations (filmed from multiple angles) of Level I exercises and combinations from her book Tap Into Life. A detailed menu allows viewers to navigate among steps, including stationary and traveling rudiments, ball changes, double heels, shuffles, slaps and flaps, spanks, paddle and rolls, time steps, and the shim sham. The complete Tap Into Life package ($149) contains the book and all three DVDs (Levels I, II, and III).
Directed by Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai
Price: $12.99 (download)
NR; 114 minutes; 2017
This visually elegant documentary follows L.A. Dance Project founder Benjamin Millepied (Black Swan choreographer and Natalie Portman’s husband), during his tenure as director of the Paris Opera Ballet, while he choreographs a premiere—and attempts to rejuvenate the centuries-old company. If you followed last year’s dance news, you know it didn’t end well (Millepied resigned in frustration), but the film portrays a moment of possibility, when one of ballet’s oldest institutions and one of its brightest young stars both seemed on the cusp of great transition.
Contemporary Turns and Jumps With Albert Cattafi
Directed by Bob Rizzo
Studio: Riz-Biz Productions, Inc.
G; 60 minutes; 2010
In this instructional video for intermediate and advanced dancers, Cattafi offers inspiration for contemporary classes. The former Mr. Dance of America, current member of Bad Boys of Dance, and alum of So You Think You Can Dance, Shaping Sound, and Cirque du Soleil teaches a series of contemporary jumps and turns. He also teaches versions of each combination for different student levels.