In Balanchine’s Classroom
Prolific choreographer George Balanchine was also a teacher who preferred to teach his dancers each morning himself, which he did for decades. In Balanchine’s Classroom is a portrait of Balanchine, the teacher, by those who knew him best – his dancers. This film explores the process of becoming a Balanchine dancer but it’s a human interest story as well, one that captures the imagination, instructs, entertains and inspires.
In Balanchine’s Classroom was born out of sheer curiosity. As a student at Balanchine’s School of American Ballet in the 1960’s, I experienced firsthand the quiet authority of his presence. As a professional dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet, I performed many of his great works, but there was more I wanted to know about Balanchine: what transpired in the private world of his classroom – his laboratory.
After conducting more than 90 interviews with former Balanchine dancers spanning four decades, what has resulted is an historic and captivating story. Interwoven with fascinating interviews is dance footage, both old and new: rare, never-before-seen classroom footage of Balanchine teaching, shot by longtime colleague and admirer Jerome Robbins, as well as recent footage of former Balanchine dancers working with today’s dynamic dancers.
Though rooted in the classroom, the film’s themes extend beyond ballet. What emerges is Balanchine’s appreciation for each dancer’s gifts, his profound impact on the lives of his dancers, and ultimately how his teaching transcended the literal classroom and continues to illuminate in universal ways.
Connie Hochman – Producer/Director
Alumna of The School of American Ballet; former member of Pennsylvania Ballet; ballet teacher; conducted over 100 in-depth interviews with dancers and others mentored by Balanchine, which form the basis for In Balanchine’s Classroom
Mark Hochman – Executive Producer
31 years with Time Warner Retail Sales & Marketing; former dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet and Houston Ballet
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