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La Danse -- Le Ballet de l'Opera de Paris (2009)



Average Rating: 8.5/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 629

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Movie Info

One of America's most respected documentary filmmakers, Frederick Wiseman, presents a glimpse into the inner workings of a respected ballet company in 2009's La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet. Wiseman and his camera crew traveled to France and watched from the sidelines as the company's choreographers and dancers (among them Emilie Cosette, Aurélie Dupont, Marie-Agnès Gillot, Benjamin Pech, Laëtitia Pujol, and Wilfried Romoli) worked out the details of the major pieces for their 2008 program. In

Jul 28, 2014


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All Critics (54) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (6) | DVD (1)

La Danse is an example of cinema at its most musical, an awe-inspiring celebration of body, mind and movement.

April 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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What's missing is a sense of who the dancers are as people and it makes La Danse feel like it has missed some crucial steps.

April 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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It is an insider's look at the ballet, but one that only an insider will get the most out of.

January 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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A unique kind of magic: a documentary about the work in art that is itself a work of art.

December 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet, Frederick Wiseman's astoundingly beautiful documentary, has sumptuous delights to satisfy every balletomane.

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Captures the fleeting beauty of ballet in dozens of miniature portraits, each quietly soaring. This movie just goes up there and stays there, and it's magical.

December 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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La danse is as good a way as any to discover the extraordinary combination of control, strength, precision, beauty and art that goes into creating ballet.

November 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Autopsy
Cinema Autopsy

Yes it's long, but like the seven ballet productions it follows, La Danse prizes meticulous, exhaustive and downright entrancing precision...Indeed, La Danse is a film that makes you profoundly grateful documentaries exist.

October 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

I warn you, this film is long. Two hours and forty minutes worth. Dance gives it its constant pulse, while it builds, slowly. It will reward your patience, it may even make new converts to dance as an art form.

October 22, 2010 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

It's not just boring, though, it's heart-breaking. Even hardcore fans of ballet might find themselves checking their e-mails or nipping out for another bucket of popcorn.

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

Wiseman has captured the experience of wandering through a living gallery of performance, adroitly defining not only why ballet is one of the most beautiful of human endeavours, but also why it is the most impenetrable of all our art forms.

October 20, 2010 Full Review Source:

A mesmerising 160-minute portrait of ballet as art, ballet as business and, most importantly of all, ballet as a way of life.

October 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Herald Sun (Australia)

Long, graceful, quietly exhilarating.

October 20, 2010 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

While there's insight to be gained, this overly long and often mundane doco is unlikely to spark an interest in the general viewer.

October 18, 2010 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

[It reminds] us in our amateur celebrity talent show-dominated times of what genuine artistic talent looks like.

May 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Scotsman

Even if you don't know your pliés from your jétes, it's impossible not to be impressed by the athleticism, agility and stamina on display, though the star of the show is the ballet's imperious artistic director, Brigitte Lefèvre.

April 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

It is interesting up to a point, unfortunately it's a point that is reached long before the lengthy running time is even halfway over.

April 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian

Don't be put off by the film's 153-minute running time - La Danse is utterly engrossing and a must-see for ballet and documentary enthusiasts alike.

April 23, 2010
Little White Lies

Beautifully shot and compelling in parts but a love of classical dance helps.

April 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A completely addictive, seemingly relaxed and formless ramble through weeks of rehearsal and performance footage.

April 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

The climactic performance sequences are mesmerising, with John Davey's camera capturing the kinetic energy and athletic grace of the dancers with Degas-like reverence.

April 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

From wardrobe to makeup to the cafeteria (rather unappetizing fare for French cuisine), La Danse is a dream come true for dance-junkies whose fantasy is to sniff around backstage uninhibited. For the rest, resonant moments come at a snail's pace.

April 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

It's just endless performance footage, indulgently edited together, and it soons proves exhausting. Not "I just danced on the balls of my feet for three hours" exhausting, but exhausting nonetheless.

March 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Challenging as well as informative...a strong addition to an already impressive body of work.

January 31, 2010 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

Audience Reviews for La Danse -- Le Ballet de l'Opera de Paris

Showed up in a very low key way on PBS without much of a word or wimper but I was quite happy to catch it even though the broadcast quality was poor. I'm afraid that I wouldn't likely be found at a performance of the Paris Opera but there is something intriguing about seeing the details of the company from a fly's point of view. The directors avoided dull interviewers and simply let those involved tell their story through their activities ranging from rehearsals to fundraisers, corporate affairs and even union meetings.
July 18, 2010
John Ballantine

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Foreign Titles

  • La danse - Das Ballett der Pariser Oper (DE)
  • La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet (UK)
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