Friday, February 24, 2017

Ballet 422

Ballet 422

           The New York Times describes the documentary Ballet 422 as “A Fly on the Wall, Watching a Troupe Work Toward Seamless Grace” . The film follows Justin Peck, a 25-year old choreographer living in New York City who is the only active dance member of the company to choreograph an original ballet on current company dancer. Through his journey, we realize that there is a great deal of stressed placed on the choreographers of this prestigious company. Work does not stop when the studio lights are turned out with today’s technology, but rather follows the choreographer, a necessary perfectionist, home.

                        The context of the film has to do with the trials and tribulations of being a young and active choreographer. The issues I found with this documentary, being a dancer myself, was the lack of focus on the actual bonding between choreographers and their dancers. It was made to seem as though he was nothing but their boss and that the only one enjoying the movement was the lead dancer, but this is never the case. The documentary also includes aspects such as costume design, lighting design and the coagulation of ideas to reality.

            The people that this movie is targeting are in the 10-40 year old demographic and mostly appeals to women, but with the introduction of Justin Peck, there seems to be more of a draw towards men. The dance industry is defiantly a large portion of the viewers because they are the most interested in the high prestige of New York City Ballet. On top of this, Justin Peck is a big name in the dance world, so the fact that he is the first to choreograph a piece is amazing. It seems as though the purpose of this was to shed some light on the reality of the companies work ethic.

            According to “How Real Does it Feel?”, the concept of amateur filmmaking and improvised acting with low budget equipment is referred to as mumblecore (New York Times) . In some senses, Ballet 422 borrowed the practices of mumblecore. The documentary was filmed with mostly amateur film tactics but did not include any acting, improvised or not. The film was made to be from the perspective of Justin so amateur tactics were used to better relate to simplex lifestyle of a dancer in NYC. All in all, there were many issues with the documentary when it came to proper coverage of the relationships, but from a choreographers standpoint, it did tdo a good job of covering the difficult and stressful times and tasks .

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