Five Favorite Films

Misty Copeland's Five Favorite Dance Films

The American Ballet Theatre principal says Black Swan, The Red Shoes, and Dirty Dancing set the barre for dance flicks.

by | October 30, 2018 | Comments

Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

(Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)

Those who’ve not had the chance to see groundbreaking ballerina Misty Copeland dance in person will be treated to the next best thing this month, as the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) principal makes her big-screen non-documentary debut in Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Copeland, the first African American dancer to be made a principal in the ABT’s almost 80-year history, plays the “ballerina princess” in the film, and is said to dazzle in one of the movie’s centerpiece moments.

Nutcracker feels like an appropriate introduction to Copeland for movie audiences. The ballerina has been performing in Marius Petipa’s The Nutcracker Ballet, which the film adapts, since she began dancing in her early teens. Her first time performing the ballet, she played the young princess Clara, who is played by McKenzie Foy in the new film; Copeland’s been performing the ballet most of her career, most recently last year in an ABT production choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky. Her incredible rise in the world of ballet is charted in the Fresh documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale.  

Ahead of the release of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Copeland shared with Rotten Tomatoes her favorite films set in the world of dance.

The Red Shoes (1948) 97%

I felt like it was the first dance film that accurately captured the essence of the relationships amongst the dancers, composer, director, and choreographer. I’ve seen it in the theater many times during special showings. It never gets old for me.

The Turning Point (1977) 65%

It’s everything! This film also captures an exciting time in American classical ballet. It’s like it’s frozen in time, this magical period in the late ’70s and early ’80s when ballet dancers were rock stars. I loved it even more later in life because, once I moved to New York, I ended up living with Isabel Brown, whose life the story it’s loosely based on. Her daughter, Leslie, stars in the movie opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Dirty Dancing (1987) 69%

Whooo! Where to start? I’ve watched it so many times. Until that movie, which I saw before even my teen years, I hadn’t seen a film that showed such raw passion connected with dance. It was sexy and showed that dance had the ability to translate into so many expressions.

The Company (2003) 72%

It was like watching a documentary but it wasn’t. There’s a scene with Lar Lubovitch, who I ended up working with as a professional, where he’s choreographing a piece on Neve Campbell. It seemed they just let the cameras roll; it was so real. It was like being in the studio and watching them rehearse. It was a window into the life of a dancer.

Black Swan (2010) 85%

I feel like Black Swan was the ultimate drama. In ballet, the stories are not realistic. The stories are larger than life. It was like seeing a ballet come to life on the big screen through the extremes of the characters in the film.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms opens in theaters everywhere Friday November 2. 

Tag Cloud

Grammys nbcuniversal criterion FX psycho First Look Christmas casting GIFs kong stop motion BBC One YouTube thriller Esquire chucky BBC America ABC Signature Masterpiece Lifetime comics documentaries movies Superheroe Set visit dragons FX on Hulu SDCC DC Universe series Watching Series Schedule batman stand-up comedy jamie lee curtis Women's History Month Comics on TV Mudbound children's TV TCA game of thrones australia travel psychological thriller Marvel Studios IFC Films sag awards video on demand Interview Nat Geo 4/20 elevated horror spinoff Amazon universal monsters Writers Guild of America popular cars Best and Worst TIFF VICE Apple TV+ Family TV One Biopics Alien pirates of the caribbean streaming The CW documentary PaleyFest mission: impossible 2016 Netflix Kids & Family doctor who CW Seed harry potter 72 Emmy Awards HBO Max dark worst movies Cartoon Network 2015 fast and furious Apple TV Plus Tubi festival Pirates Mary Tyler Moore festivals Academy Awards Starz Turner Classic Movies Photos Teen MTV Sundance Now renewed TV shows telelvision MCU BET Awards based on movie TCA Awards Disney streaming service Character Guide Cosplay Fox Searchlight romance Action Mystery halloween USA supernatural Sneak Peek natural history richard e. Grant franchise TV Land zombie Sony Pictures Film Festival Paramount Network Western directors Avengers Logo TNT El Rey Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Holiday quibi aliens Rom-Com ID Trivia 2021 TruTV Thanksgiving Video Games versus Musical deadpool Hear Us Out witnail 2020 blaxploitation cats Martial Arts A24 NBC Adult Swim razzies CNN binge free movies LGBT 71st Emmy Awards E! fresh Ellie Kemper docudrama kids die hard war ratings Sci-Fi American Society of Cinematographers The Arrangement CBS All Access Quiz The Witch See It Skip It Red Carpet Hallmark Christmas movies FOX revenge The Walking Dead classics prank YouTube Premium worst cooking comiccon X-Men Spectrum Originals award winner justice league DC Comics Paramount Plus Spring TV obituary Country nature disaster cancelled TV shows Holidays DirecTV period drama cartoon Syfy miniseries composers crime toronto New York Comic Con superhero The Academy cults DC streaming service Cannes Travel Channel TCA Winter 2020 CBS parents Turner strong female leads 2019 21st Century Fox ITV Awards Tour halloween tv Tarantino Calendar Warner Bros. canceled TV shows dceu WarnerMedia political drama jurassic park Fall TV History spy thriller robots spanish language Pop TV remakes Epix toy story anime golden globe awards tv talk Music movie crime drama emmy awards stoner superman Universal facebook Lucasfilm 007 Lionsgate adventure Chilling Adventures of Sabrina news IFC animated video Reality Winter TV Polls and Games HBO Go spain social media science fiction National Geographic 45 dogs Nickelodeon Rock south america 2018 ViacomCBS boxing Apple Animation transformers Shudder Crackle joker game show Britbox Pop serial killer Amazon Prime sitcom rt archives ABC ghosts Discovery Channel Vudu indiana jones singing competition Toys Tomatazos Chernobyl HBO Marathons critics comic books SXSW The Walt Disney Company Brie Larson rotten 20th Century Fox space slashers scary movies Drama twilight Extras Opinion Song of Ice and Fire screenings Pet Sematary Star Wars Paramount Walt Disney Pictures trailers Sundance TV Shondaland Mary poppins Film Pixar YA venice Tumblr VH1 TCA 2017 hidden camera boxoffice indie Binge Guide BBC Black History Month Horror golden globes hist Summer OneApp Box Office satire Classic Film Stephen King breaking bad black Nominations Superheroes Peacock foreign Bravo San Diego Comic-Con MSNBC BET asian-american reboot ABC Family President true crime sports PBS zombies japanese Countdown WGN green book mockumentary canceled VOD 99% screen actors guild reviews archives sequels Premiere Dates TV renewals Endgame italian Valentine's Day talk show RT History television BAFTA Captain marvel cancelled dramedy sequel hollywood Spike USA Network adaptation Acorn TV Comedy Showtime GLAAD Star Trek ESPN spanish Certified Fresh romantic comedy scorecard Creative Arts Emmys Legendary name the review Marvel Television Television Academy 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards finale Crunchyroll LGBTQ The Purge AMC Emmys james bond Oscars godzilla Hulu SundanceTV french Fantasy Disney+ Disney Plus king kong Amazon Prime Video police drama crossover latino historical drama what to watch Winners YouTube Red 2017 Freeform Election TLC Black Mirror Broadway Year in Review TBS Television Critics Association mutant Musicals GoT child's play Super Bowl unscripted rom-coms zero dark thirty APB comic dc Pride Month Hallmark docuseries Exclusive Video independent TV book Ghostbusters Trophy Talk Funimation werewolf Mindy Kaling all-time Comedy Central laika Marvel DGA christmas movies Baby Yoda monster movies rotten movies we love CMT Fox News Sundance cancelled television PlayStation Infographic football Heroines best blockbusters blockbuster OWN Podcast Columbia Pictures Lifetime Christmas movies Mary Poppins Returns anthology Trailer spider-man Awards Netflix Christmas movies Dark Horse Comics concert crime thriller theme song Comic Book Reality Competition Rocky vampires technology biography a nightmare on elm street kaiju Emmy Nominations Disney cancelled TV series Elton John Food Network comedies Disney Channel Anna Paquin women TCM First Reviews A&E medical drama politics cops NYCC RT21 nfl FXX teaser diversity 24 frames Disney Plus E3 Amazon Studios cinemax hispanic Ovation Rocketman films discovery Arrowverse