Movie Depictions of Boys Clothes: Ballet Movies

Figure 1.--Billy Elliot is about an English boy taking boxing lessons who by accident becomes fascinated with ballet.

Relatively little information is available on boys' ballet costumes. HBC know of only a few movies that deal with boys doing ballet. One is a British film, Billy Elliot. The other is a Russian documentary, The Children of Theater Street. American and British films have generally dealt with older boys doing ballet. Russian films where thetre is more of a tradition of boys doing ballet have also provided insights into the clothing and costume of younger boys. Please let HBC know if you are aware of any films which should be added to this list.

Individal Films

The following films are either about boys learning ballet or performances of ballets with parts for boys.

Billy Elliot (England, 1999)

This British ballet film won the audience award at the 2000 Edinburgh Film Festival. It is a touching drama about a boy with dreams of becoming a ballet dancer, a dream that his family and friends can not share and fight offensive and threatening. Billy is an 11-year-old boy who wants to be a ballet dancer against the background of the mid-1980's miners'

(The) Children of Theater Street (USSR, 1977)

The definitive documentary on Soviet ballet is the color film The Children of Theater Street. Prod. Earie Mack (Princess Grace Of Monaco) Academy Award Nomination. A behind-the-scenes look at the Soviet Union's highly competitive Kirov School, which produced dancers such as Nijinsky, Pavlova, Nureyev, Makarova and Baryshnikov. Documents the difficult entrance exam in which thousands of hopefuls compete for twenty spots; the actual teaching of classes; interviews with various people associated with the school. Features a performance by the graduating students. Introduced and narrated by Princess Grace of Monaco. Dornhelm first came to attention with his Oscar-nominated "The Children of Theater Street," about the young students of the Kirov Ballet.

(The) Last Dance (U.S., 2001)

One dancer reports that this is a totally "awesome" movie. She is on the dance team at her church, and they do mostly contemperary dance, but throw in some ballet and other things (even though none have had actual ballet training, or any other for that matter). She writes, "One of my best friends and me went to see it together, and we both loved it. It is definately worth seeing whether you are a big hip-hop & ballet fan or not."

Moscow Ballet School (USSR, 1973)

This short dcumentary provides a glimpse of the Moscow Ballet School.

(the) Nutcracker (USSR, 1987)

This Nutcracker movie was produced by the Bolshoi Ballet company. In this film the the Bolshoi performs the beloved classic which takes place one Christmas Eve in a small 19th century Russian town. With music by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky. Based on Hoffman's fairy tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

(The) Only Way - (US, 1970)

Interesting film about the saving of Denmark's Jews when the NAZI's attempted to round them up. Only one boy is pictured, a youngish boy (say 10 or so). He is the only boy in a ballet class and wears tights for his pratice.

Ballet Movies

Quite a large number of movies have been made about ballet. Most deal with adult performances or about girls leaning ballet. Here is a good listing of many of these films. HBC has not seen most of these films. Please inform us if you know of ballet films with information about boys' costumes.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: October 1, 2000
Last updated: November 29, 2001