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‘New York City Ballet’ directed by Sofia Coppola

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A short film by Sofia Coppola, made for NYCB’s 2021 Spring Gala. Only available on YouTube until May 20!  

Film proper starts at 5min, 51sec. 

I think this is a beautifully-shot, sensitively- edited, stirring, soulful experience. Having spent four years of my middle childhood years at the San Francisco Ballet School, I feel a deeply-rooted connection to the material. Those empty echoing halls, those creaky floorboards, the squeak of leather-soled dance shoes on vinyl - the film brings all of those sensations back.

I love the fine line the filmmakers ride between documentary style, dramatic flair, and capturing true performance. This is perhaps one of Sofia Coppola’s best talents as a director. And only captured with two cameras, according to the credits!

The color section at the end of the film appears treated with a two-strip Technicolor look, at least to my eye. Maybe it’s just the lighting, in combination with the makeup and costumes, but there seems to be quite a bit of green removed from the image which pulls the film out of the modern context and creates a ‘classical’ feeling - you’re not quite sure if this was shot in 2021, or in 1951. Whether it was intended to have this effect or not, it worked  quite well for me.

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Thanks, will check it you. I wonder why they put it up for a short time and take it down?

I like ballet photos. Not much for ballet live, although I do like great scenes from ballet. And I like some of the movies on ballet / dancing. I got lots of photos of ballet dancers but they are in storage. No time to scan or even dig out from the storage unit. 

Here is one of my favs...


Here is what this photo looked like before...

Selection from ‘Ballerina’ with before and after restoration – Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (wordpress.com)

Here are a couple photo books on ballet. Classical stuff from way back, although not as old as the photo above. You can minimize moiré pattern by scrolling the jpegs up or down.

https://archive.org/search.php?query=ballet teoli

I donated some vintage ballet photos to a ballet school in NYC for their benefit auction. Never got a thank you for the donation. I wish I could have got in with some of the ballet schools in NYC. I'd love to shoot the girls with infrared flash in the dark on location, but never got nowhere with them. When they Google me that usually seals the deal.

I hope to get to the ballet photos someday. Some great stuff in their from the 20's and 30's.


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Just now, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I wonder why they put it up for a short time and take it down?

I believe the film was made in place of the New York City Ballet’s usual annual gala. Since they’ve been shut down for the last 14 months, obviously there have been no live performances. So I guess the film is meant to take the place of that. 

It’s also possible that they may want to sell the film to other platforms. But I do hope they leave it up for free for much longer, I think it does more to promote the arts to the public in the long run.

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