A Ballerina’s Tale Blu-ray Review
As someone who enjoys many sports, I always enjoy listening to the sports radio personalities argue over who and what a real athlete is. Usually it’s golf or NASCAR which gets ridiculed, like it’s easy to hit a ball or sit in a car for 500 miles. As someone whose done both, it isn’t. It is easy to hit a ball, but not to hit it to where you want it to go. And I’ve made many journeys around the country in my car. After the first 200 miles your back and your butt are sore and you have to get out and stretch. NASCAR drivers don’t have that luxury. They’re also going 200 miles an hour. This week I learned that there are another group of athletes out there, the dances in your local ballet company.
A BALLERINA’S TALE tells the story of the amazing Misty Copeland, an African American that left California at the age of 17 to join the fabled American Ballet Theater (ABT). While there have been other African American ballet dancers there has never been one that has risen as high as Ms. Copeland. What makes her additionally special is that she went against what many in the profession would call the “norm” in regards to her body. If you’ve ever seen a ballet performance, you’ll notice that the majority of the women are skinny and shapeless. Ms. Copeland, who was urged to lose weight when she arrived in New York, is quite shapely and intends to stay that way.
While the film does feature Ms. Copeland in performance, the focus of the film is her rise in the ballet community. From a supporting player to a soloist to being name the featured dancer at the ABT, she moves up the ranks in leaps and bounds (both figuratively and literally). And her achievement is not lost on the public. Where very few young women of color pursued ballet in the past, the audiences for her performances soon become packed with young African American girls with stars in their eyes. That Ms. Copeland makes sure she meets many of them backstage is not only heartwarming but inspiring, giving the kids an “if I can do it you can do it too” message.
Of course, a journey such as this is not easy. After being named the lead dancer in a production of “The Firebird,” Copeland begins feeling a pain in one of her legs. She continues to dance until the production ends. When she finally goes to a doctor she learns that her leg had been breaking from the inside, that at any time it could have just snapped under her. Originally told she would never be able to dance again, she again perseveres, gaining the lead in the acclaimed “Swan Lake.”
Even if you’re not a fan of ballet or dance, A BALLERINA’S TALE is in uplifting film with a very likable heroine. And if you have young children, it’s a perfect way to show them that pretty much anything is possible if you work hard enough for it.
Video: Presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the photography, especially during the dance numbers, is clear and sharp.
Audio: The soundtrack is in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 and is well mixed. The interview portions are quite audible and the performance footage spreads the music around cleanly.
Deleted Scenes (6:13): Nothing substantial, consisting only of further interview clips with Copeland and her manager.