Ballet Boys

"Very Good"

Ballet Boys Review


Only in Norway could filmmakers make such an honest documentary about 14-year-old boys who dream of becoming top ballet dancers. Without ever poking fun at them, the movie explores their deepest hopes and fears, as well as the fact that they are a rarity in their own field, simply because they're male. And since the approach is so open and personal, using dry humour and earthy emotion, it quickly gets under the audience's skin.

The three boys at the centre of the film are in training at the Oslo Opera House, where each has his own personal issues. The fiercely talentedLukas Bjorneboe Braendsrod has the support of his parents but worries about growing too tall to dance, and he's always tired after long days of practice. His buddy Torgeir Lund is blond and athletic, with a natural gift even if he has to work harder than Lukas. He understands that being a male dancer sets him apart from normal kids. As an Asian, their pal Syvert Lorenz Garcia feels like an outsider, always second-guessing whether he should continue as a dancer. But his parents encourage him, and he can't imagine doing anything else. As all three prepare to audition for Oslo's top dance academy, Lukas gets an invitation to try out for the prestigious Royal Ballet in London, which would completely change life for his family and friends as well.

Filmmaker Kenneth Elvebakk has astonishing access to these three boys over several months, following them through their paces at the Opera House, including rehearsals and performances and, most tellingly, their time together in the male changing room, the only place they feel like they can be themselves. In here, they drop their guards and talk honestly about their feelings, as well as joking around about dance, trying on tutus and laughing about how uncomfortable a dance-belt is ("It's more invasive than a jockstrap!"). The filmmaker also follows them home to meet their families, and includes a few competitions as well as the audition process for their next step as dancers.

Through all of this, each boy goes through a series of highs and lows, coping with the huge stress to succeed in this field. They know they should have some sort of plan B, but none wants to do anything else. They are remarkably focussed on their goals to dance with the world's top dancers, work with the great choreographers and perform the best roles. And they understand that being a dancer involves sacrificing parties and girls while enduring a lot of physical pain ("You totally ruin your body!"). So even if there's nothing particularly new about this film, the upfront Scandinavian approach sets it apart, as does the lively, often very silly camaraderie between these three teens.



Ballet Boys

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 75 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 13th July 2014

Production compaines: Indie Film as

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Fresh: 7 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Kenneth Elvebakk

Producer: Carsten Aanonsen

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