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Ballet 422

   2014    Art
Cinematographer and documentarian Jody Lee Lipes crafts an intimate, fly-on-the-wall documentary offering a rare peek into the highly-guarded world of professional ballet. The film shadows Justin Peck, the 25-year old choreographer of the New York City Ballet, as he undertakes the Herculean task of creating the company's 422nd original piece while simultaneously fulfilling his role as a Corps de Ballet member. Lipes chronicles Peck's creative process from its embryonic stages to its highly anticipated premiere, quietly observing as he balances a roster of musicians, designers, and dancers from this famed institution. Ballet 422 is a powerful celebration of the skill and endurance of Peck and his fellow NYCB dancers-as well as those who remain hidden in the wings.

First Position

   2011    Art
Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world's most prestigious ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, where lifelong dreams are at stake. In the final round, with hundreds competing for only a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected. Bess Kargman's award-winning documentary, First Position, follows six young dancers as they prepare for a chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries, all while navigating the drama of adolescence. A showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, First Position paints a thrilling and moving portrait of the most gifted young ballet stars of tomorrow.

Flex Is Kings

   2013    Art
'Flexing' is a dance style forged in far east Brooklyn, at the dead-end of a handful of subway lines. Flex dancers channel the grittiness and crime of East New York into choreographed violence with gun movements, simulated bone-breaking, and the mimicked ripping of hearts from opponent's chests. Through battles dancers gain respect, craft an artistic identity, and sometimes find a sanctuary from the poverty and violence that saturates their neighborhood. No other style of street-dance is this violent, scary, or beautifully theatrical. In this purely do-it-yourself scene, creativity and ambition bring a community together around frequent dance-battle showcases that have begun to attract an international audience and may catapult the best dancers into careers in theater or film. Following a group of dancers for over two years, Flex is Kings explores the hopes and realities of this under-acknowledged and totally unfunded group of urban artists
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