Ballerina: Bertrand Normand’s Russian Documentary about Five Dancers

BALLERINA, Bertrand Normand’s resplendent portrait of five ballerinas from Russia’s renowned Mariinsky Theatre, (formerly known as the Kirov) is playing now in select theaters.

In this intimate, captivating chronicle, which offers afresh look at the world of dance, the legendary dance artists leap from rehearsal halls to international stages as they re-invent classical ballet and enchant audiences worldwide.

The Kirov Theatre has produced many of the world’s finest choreographers and dancers including Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikael Baryshnikov, and Natalia Makarova.  Now, The Mariinsky Theatre, under the artistic direction of Valery Gergiev, presents a new generation of rising stars: Alina Somova, Svetlana Zakharova, Diana Vishneva, Ulyana Lopatkina and Evgenia Obraztsova.

Determined, insightful and gifted, each woman relates her own personal hopes, dreams and career-changing challenges.  From leaving school to coming-back from a crippling injury, their journeys reflect the unique components of the ballerina’s experience–and what it means to be a ballerina.

Weaving intimate interviews with rehearsal studio footage, “Ballerina” also shows scenes from famous ballets such as Marius Petipa’s Paquita, Swan Lake and La Bayadère, as well as George Balanchine’s Diamonds, Michael Fokine’s Schéhérazade and Lavrovsky’s Romeo and Juliet. 

This distinctive documentary, narrated by the graceful actress Diane Baker, captures the beauty of the ballerina by placing her in the country where she still shines, Russia, the land of the ballerina par excellence.

Director Bertrand Normand, born in 1972, studied business management in Paris, Oxford and Berlin, after which he lived in the Philippines, fulfilling his military service requirement as the audio-visual attaché to the Ambassador of France. At age 25, he attended the Vancouver Film School in Canada where he directed his first films. When he returned to France, he studied at the Studio Jack Garfein.  Normand has directed short films as well as three documentaries, and is currently working on a new documentary about the historical reconstructions of the Napoleonic era in Russia.

BALLERINA screened at the 2009 Dance On Camera Festivalpresented by Dance Films Association and The Film Society of Lincoln Center. 


80 Minutes, Color, 2006
English Narration, Russian dialogue w/English Subtitles

An Adesif Productions / Les Films du Tamarin co-production
A film by Bertrand Normand
Camera Bertrand Normand Franck Laniel  Isabelle Saunois  Edward Oleschak  Igor Yurov Alexandre Filipov  Frédéric Podetti  Dominique Collin  Thierry Maisonnave Editing Antonela Bevenja  
Sound editing Sandrine Henchoz
Mixing Raoul Fruhauf  Additional sound Victor Smirnov, Cyril Moisson
Produced by Frédéric Podetti, Yann Brolli