Etoiles - Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet ,Class, Rehearsals and Snapshots
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Etoiles is a documentary written and directed by Nils Tavernier (son of director Bertrand Tavernier) . The film focuses on the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet, one of the oldest and most rigorous ballet academies in existence, founded by Louis Xvi, and producing some of the best dancers alive. The dancers, choreographers, teachers, students, and even the staff who work at the Ballet are captured in the film, weaving an intricate tapestry that shows the busy, demanding, and highly structured world in which these people live. The process of becoming a Paris Opera Ballet dancer is brutal, both physically and psychologically. Girls between the ages of 8 and 10 and boys between the ages of 9 and 11 begin at the Paris Opera Ballet s offshoot in Nanterre. There, they are trained by teachers who have been with the company for decades and who, often, are themselves graduates of the school. An annual exam determines whether the students graduate to the next level, and only a handful make the cut. Individual interviews with the adult dancers have them describe what dancing means to them, and many are at a loss for words, declaring it a way of life and the only thing they know. "Love is not the word," says one young woman, "it's something that devours you." Another explained that she contemplated being a nun, and instead became a dancer. Meanwhile the dancers furiously rehearse performances of Swan Lake, Maurice Bejart's Ninth Symphony, and La Sylphide. A beautiful film because of its music, its settings, its dances and dancers, Etoiles is a portrait of dancers who dedicate their lives to mastering a single art, while sacrificing practically everything else.