Film about a dance company preparing a new production of "Giselle." Julie Kent is the young dancer who becomes infatuated with the artistic director of the company, Baryshnikov, and like Giselle suffers a breakdown.
bad movie, great dancer This movie has a predictable and not very original plot. as a regular movie it's quite negligible. But the dancing by Baryshnikov is something else. If you think you already saw the ballet "Giselle" - think again - this dancer is from a different planet....more info
Disappointing A tremendous disappointment, "Dancers" was dull and uninteresting. Tremendous talent enters the world of a dull melodrama. Don't waste your time. View "White Nights" instead....more info
A guilty pleasure for ballet lovers Filmed at the height of the Baryshnikov-era ABT's excesses, this American Ballet Theatre vehicle has a thin plot, barely excusible acting, and is generally the sort of film that no one but the most dedicated ballet fan would watch.
But oh the dancing! Julie Kent, still a corps de ballet member is innocent and bursting with youthful energy. While her voice is a travesty, her dancing is eloquent. Misha is at the height of his powers. Leslie Browne, Alessandra Ferri, Lynn Seymour, Amanda McKerrow, and Victor Barbee are all in this gem of a film, which captures an age of ABT while I, for one, would never like to forget.
This needs to be released in DVD, post haste, before that era is forgotten to the ages....more info
Definitely a guilty pleasure Dancers is enjoyable to watch. The plot is hokey, at the very least, but it has to tie the dancing in somehow. The dance scenes are beautiful all around and when those sequences cut to the movie's plot it is dissapointing but it makes you look forward to enjoying the next dance scene.
Yes, I admit, you may be tempted to fast forward but it's not nearly as painful as The Turning Point where the dancing scenes were sparse. (Or Center Stage which was a complete waste) In this movie there are plenty of beautiful dance scenes that overall make it worthwhile. Looking forward to DVD. Overall, it is enjoyable if you love Baryshnikov and the ballet Giselle. One of the better dance movies. ...more info
Not worth watching I'm a fan of Baryshnikov and sat down to watch all of his movies, good or bad. I'm not sure if this one was even worth watching, especially since I ended up having to own it in order to see it. I'm certainly not going to watch it again. Like other reviewers, I love Julie Kent, but we only see her dancing in the rehearsal room for a moment. I don't think she's as terrible an actress as some of the other dancers in the film, but her character is so annoyingly childlike that she comes off as a terrible actress. The same with Baryshnikov, who is a wonderful actor but was given this cheesy script to work with. Also, if you want to see him doing lots of impressive leaps and pirrouettes, rent any of his other films. The dancing is pretty, but I prefer to see him in a high energy performance where he can really show off his unique talent. And then the big finale of the movie, when the real life story of the dancers mimics the live performance of Giselle, is so forced and obvious that I wonder how this script got produced in the first place. I was expecting some subtle allusion to the Giselle story, and instead you are hit over the head with it just in case you weren't picking up on it earlier in the film. It's simply bad writing. I had the same issue with The Turning Point, made by the same people, which I think was just as bad of a movie but critically acclaimed due to the A list acting. I felt the filmmakers were trying to recreate the success of that film by copying the same formula (backstage drama + opening night + artsy metaphor to tie it all together = movie), but they didn't hire the star power and therefore couldn't pull it off this time....more info
Dancers, Not Actors I enjoyed the ballet. I was bored by the movie storyline. The dancing was passionate. The acting was uninspired. An inane movie....more info
It's the dancing that makes this so special I have watched this movie a LOT!! I own it in the VHS format. It's not a great storyline... it's not an intriguing plot.... but... it is a lovely story of a jaded dancer meeting innocense for the first time in a very long time. I think that the story itself is cute, not mesmerizing but..... the dancing, especially by Baryshnikov is unbelievably heartstopping. There is no other dancer who makes my heart pound and my soul cry out for more. For sure.... the ballet itself is the highlight of this movie but.... watch it without high expectations regarding the plot and story line and you will not be disappointed....more info
A great disappointment When I ordered Herbert Ross's 1987 film "Dancers," I'd already read the customer reviews and wasn't expecting much. But I bought it anyway, ONLY because I wanted to see an early performance by Julie Kent (currently a principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre and one of my favorites). As it turned out, she has a leading role, but only dances for a total of 4-5 seconds. So be forewarned, Julie Kent fans.
There is very little dancing until the last part of the movie, in which most of the second act of the ballet "Giselle" is performed. Alessandra Ferri (also a principal dancer in ABT) had not yet achieved her present level of artistry, but did a commendable job in the role of Giselle. Baryshnikov's dancing is all that you could wish for. Leslie Browne as Myrtha and Vincent Barbee as Hilarion are also good in their roles. But all of these dancers can be seen in more interesting dance videos/films. (Ferri is in the 1996 La Scala version of "Giselle" and dances the balcony scene from "Romeo and Juliet" in "American Ballet Theatre Now" (1998). Kent is also featured in the "ABT Now" video and stars in the 1999 ABT version of "Le Corsaire.")
As for the non-dance part of "Dancers," the story parallels the plot of "Giselle." Baryshnikov plays the director of a film of "Giselle" that is in the making. Julie Kent plays the sweet young thing in the corps de ballet who captures his fancy. He makes a play for her, she is smitten and is heartbroken when she realizes his true nature.
The acting ranges from stilted to fairly good (Julie Kent was believable as the betrayed girl), but in fairness to the actors -- most of whom are dancers -- they didn't have much to work with. I think I've seen just about every movie that purports to show the offstage lives of dancers, and have yet to see one that rings true.
One thing that annoys me about this movie is the overuse of verbal descriptions of pantomime sequences during rehearsals. The dancers always have some logical excuse for doing it -- for example, teaching a part to another dancer or arguing with the director over the interpretation of the role -- but it's a pretty transparent gimmick for explaining the pantomime to viewers who aren't familiar with the ballet.
Frankly, the most enjoyable part of this movie for me was seeing who showed up in minor roles: Mariangela Melato (star of "Swept Away" and other Lina Wertm¨¹ller films), Tommy Rall (a former ABT dancer who was prominent in movie musicals such as "Kiss Me Kate" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"), Lynn Seymour (former principal dancer with the Royal Ballet), and others.
For a better film about ballet dancers on and offstage, try Herbert Ross's "The Turning Point" (1977). Baryshnikov is the leading male dancer, Leslie Browne plays the young female lead, the plot and script are better, and the leading actors (Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine) are much better. Best of all, there is plenty of good dancing throughout the movie....more info
Kind of like watching a porn movie... Nobody watches a porn movie for the acting or the plot. They watch it for... well, you know what they watch it for.
This movie is alot like that. You don't watch it to see how great Baryshnikov or anyone else acts or for the plot. You watch it for the dancing. By the time they got into the second half of the movie where they were dancing Giselle -- I found myself completely forgetting that it was supposed to be a "real" movie and not a taped version of Giselle. The dancing was beautiful all the way around.
So, do as one reviewer did... fast forward past the supposed plot and go straight for the dancing... Or, just buy a taped version of Giselle -- though I don't know if one exists with Baryshnikov and he realy is the main attraction....more info
Simply horrible movie - much better dance films out there Yes, it *does* star Misha, but his acting is so bad that the dance sequences can't make up for it. The plot (and I use that term loosely) of the movie is equally bad. I love a good dance flick, but this movie is truly awful. If you want to see Misha, good dancing, *and* good acting (plus a fairly good plot), I highly recommend that you bypass "Dancers" and buy "The Turning Point" instead....more info
As shocking a seeing your mother drunk. When Garbo made what turned out to be her last movie Time magazine wrote of her in the film, "It is as shocking as seeing your mother drunk!" That's how I felt when I watched this video. Baryshnikov still playing himself, and coming across as not very likeable, as well as downright unsympathetic, as opposed to his stage persona. This time he is called Anton and making heavy weather of a filmed production of Giselle. The film parodies the ballet's story with a happy ending, in which the young innocent girl gets a tattoo! Truly. Baryshnikov is too old to have the close up pan into every pore of his crow footed eyes. As for the dancer actually dancing Giselle, I would have been more than happy if Anton had corrected her arms and port-des-bras, which are completely amateur. I found this movie both shallow and sad. Another [and hopefully, final] cinematic glimpse into Baryshnikov's personal angst which I, for one, could well live without....more info
no plot, but oh what a misha! It's true, this movie really has no plot; Dancers is just a vessel used to get out into the public Giselle, a truly beautiful ballet. I have no problem with that. If you aren't interested in seeing something deep, but rather desire to see Misha dance then this movie definitely would suffice. Every time I rent it I zip through the "story" and just watch the dancing. I am blow away by the talent of this amazing man....more info
DVD would be better, but tape will do Originally created as a more permanent record of Baryshnikov's final performances of "Giselle", and as a means of capitalizing on the successful collaboration of director Herbert Ross, Baryshnikov, and ABT (the same group that did "Turning Point"), as a performance record DANCERS succeeds; as a drama it is no more credible or ludicrous than most narrative films about dancers. Which means, as usual, a silly melodramatic plot and/or love triangle is grafted onto images of rehearsals and performances so movie masses will come see a ballet film. (In this case, it's a thinly adapted version of Giselle's plot.) And like most others, I usually FF to the dance sequences and avoid the rest. (A DVD would make this much simpler.)
The best thing about this film,however,are the production values. The "Giselle" sets and costumes--fortunately still mostly in use at ABT today--are absolutely beautiful. Except for the Nureyev film, (shot on a studio set) I've never seen an ACT II as eery and beautifully lit. And as he did in "Turning Point", Herbert Ross' use of lighting (allowing 'flares')and angles(high,low, and from wings) to capture the drama of the dance is a joy that this former dancer and director greatly appreciated. Ditto, the scene of Baryshnikov alone in a practice studio--amazing dancing (still haven't seen anyone else today do that triple jete entrelace--tour jete /revoltade?) and "golden hour" lighting. It's also an example of some of the hard work/pain behind the dance.
A good Giselle has to act as well as dance and Ferri can do both. Close-ups allow us to see Giselle's mad scene progression through shock, pain and bewilderment, and that moment when she notices the forgotten sword lying there. (I love Julie Kent as a dancer, but forget the poor boo hoos in the background of this scene.) In Act II, Ferri does do the Romantic rounded arms as required in the pas de deux, and her arms in the final scene, as she reaches for Albrecht while being slowly drawn back to the grave, are very beautiful.
The Wili's extra-long Romantic "tutus"--ankle length, not calf--really contribute to the gauzy floating effect. (ABT still uses them in Les Sylphides, but unfortunately not Giselle.)
Of course, Baryshnikov's dancing is fine. And it is interesting to compare this performance with the emmy-winning video of his "Live from Lincoln Center" performance with Makarova almost ten years previously. DANCERS is a much more mature performanc: the duke, rather than the ardent lover, is much more evident in Mischa's Albrecht; however much shock/remorse is shown when Giselle dies. His Act II entrance, with that dramaticly long black cloak--borrowed from Nureyev's portrayal?--and his own invented trail of lillies at the end, are still potent reminders of his ability to command a stage "without doing anything" as Kevin McKenzie so accurately noted. It is a very controlled, commanding performance with passion but not pathos. Beautiful yes, but not heartwrending.
As for the other dancers... Yes, Victor Barbee is an excellent Hilarion who did much to raise the level of secondary roles in ABT performances. We smile at all his performances in this film, and are glad he is still at ABT to inform those who followed. Leslie Browne made three films with Ross, and is an assured dancer, and interesting if not brilliant actress. (Of course her tipsy "Turning Point" Wili remains forever in my mind as her greatest acting in "Giselle".) Give her credit for doing what many avoided--trying another difficult artform,and for the most part, succeeding. Amanda McKerrow is sadly, barely glimpsed. And I agree that Lynn Seymour's required histrionic explications of mime are annoying. Blame the script.
If DANCERS is ever released on DVD, at least it will be easier to avoid the melodrama and enjoy the dance....more info
Moving Story "Dancers" is intrigueing for those who love the arts. It is the story of an incredible ballet dancer named Anton (played by Mikhail Baryshnikov) and his love affair with a young girl named Lisa who is a background dancer for the ballet "Giselle". Throughout the movie many different things happen in which the unenchanted Anton realizes his mistakes in being a womanizer. He comes about this by seeing how his life compares to the life of the main character of "Giselle"....more info
Great Dancing, Lousy Story I recently rewatched this movie, which I've owned for years, and I must agree with the other reviewers that the plot is absolutely laughable, especially the scene in which Julie Kent has a mild breakdown on stage during the Mad Scene. Julie Kent is lovely and a fine dancer, but her voice is annoying and she can't act.
The subplot between Wade & Nadine (Victor Barbee & Leslie Browne) is barely touched on and is much more interesting. The baby is gorgeous. I would have thought by now, though, that Barbee would have lost his North Carolina accent!
It's nice to see Tommy Rall again. He was so good in Kiss Me, Kate.
Lynn Seymour's scene in which she explains her pantomime is also very interesting.
The dancing is outstanding from beginning to end. Victor Barbee's Hilarion is finely drawn and sympathetic, far from a villain but rather a nice guy who finishes last with a death he does not deserve. Leslie Browne, who portrays Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, is a wonderful dancer and a very capable actress both in the ballet and in the story. I wish there had been more dancing, as there were parts of the ballet left out, including the peasant pas de deux. But take the advice that others have offered--fast forward through the story & just watch the dance....more info