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Bloor Cinema Release: Ballet 422

February 27, 2015

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Ballet 422

A promising young dancer relegated to the lowest level of the company, Justin Peck was given the rare opportunity in 2013 to choreograph the 422nd new piece performed by the New York City Ballet.  The process is showcased in the pretty good backstage documentary Ballet 422, which opens at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema this weekend.  Tickets and showtimes are right here.

The film follows the production from first rehearsal to world premiere, showing everything from the costume designers, to the lighting department and the orchestra.  Although sometimes a little too heavy on mundane preparation footage, without much in the way of tension or even interviews, this is still an interesting overview of the creative process behind staging an original ballet.

With a fairly fast paced running time of just 75 minutes, the film offers its fair share of pleasures, especially in the footage of the dancers rehearsing and brief glimpses of their opening night performance.  Directed by cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes, who also gave us the spectacular dance piece NY Export: Opus Jazz a few years ago, Ballet 422 is beautifully shot and aesthetically pleasing, and for these reasons alone is worth seeing.

Also opening this weekend is Concerning Violence, which premiered at Hot Docs last year.  The film uses archival footage from the 1960s and ’70s to share the fascinating true story of Africa’s struggle to liberate themselves from colonial rule.  Tickets and showtimes for that one can be found right here.

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