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In Balanchine’s Classroom

Directed by Connie Hochman

Year: 2021
Running Time: 88
Color Type: Color and B&W
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Country: U.S.
Language: English
Genres: Documentary

In Balanchine’s Classroom


George Balanchine
Jacques d’Amboise
Merrill Ashley
Gloria Govrin
Suki Schorer
Edward Villella
Heather Watts


Directed by Connie Hochman
In Balanchine’s Classroom takes us back to the glory years of Balanchine’s New York City Ballet through the remembrances of his former dancers and their quest to fulfill the vision of a genius. Opening the door to his studio, Balanchine’s private laboratory, they reveal new facets of the groundbreaking choreographer: taskmaster, mad scientist, and spiritual teacher. Today, as his former dancers teach a new generation, questions arise: what was the secret of his teaching? Can it be replicated?

Filled with never before seen archival footage of Balanchine at work during rehearsals, classes, and in preparation for his most seminal works, along with interviews with many of his adored and adoring dancers and those who try to carry on his legacy today, this is Balanchine as you have never seen him, and a film for anyone who loves ballet and the creative process.

This film is now playing in theaters and virtual cinemas. A Zeitgeist Films release in association with Kino Lorber.

This is an exhilarating film.

The secret to a wonderful creative life is to fully embrace the life we are given to live. That means becoming one with what we create. It means moving forward without knowing where we are moving, acting without knowing what comes next.

My grandmother on my father’s side went to her grave talking about the wonderful afternoon she watched as I used oil pen markers designed for drawing on fabric as images magically took shape.

She thought I knew what I was doing.

In a sense I did as I allowed myself to engage in a form of automatic writing that involved painting more than in place of writing.

This is how I live my life.

It is also how George Balanchine lived his.

Ballet is the most demanding of the physical arts.

Our bodies are such more cups for the spirit they hold.

This film captures all that and more.

One dancer rightly says She does not feel film and/or video captures the essence of dance.

She’s right of course.

But film and video does give us a  record that we otherwise would not have.

The film and video excerpts in this production left me wanting to see more, wanting to learn more.

Perhaps they will leave you the same way.–Reg Hartt



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