Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Ballerina Movie Poster Image
Great ballet docu about five girls with no iffy content.
  • NR
  • 2006
  • 77 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Clearly shows how much passion, commitment, and hard work are necessary to succeed in an artistic endeavor. It then presents a vivid picture of the joys and rewards of reaching one's goals.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Students, teachers/coaches, working ballerinas, and choreographers are portrayed as hard-working, supportive of one another, and driven to be the best that they can be.


Ten-year-old girls are bare-chested in a short nonsexual scene depicting auditions for the Kirov Academy of Ballet.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ballerina is a documentary purely about dance with no iffy content. It focuses on the commitment and passion of the dancers and does not explore their lives outside of the school or the ballet company. It's a great film for families with an interest in the arts. For others, it's a stellar introduction to the rigorous demands of any all-consuming way of life.

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What's the story?

BALLERINA creates vivid portraits of five female dancers in the Kirov Ballet. Alina Somova is a promising graduate of the Kirov Academy in her first year with the company. Evguenya Obraztsova is a second-year member on a clear path to greatness. Svetlana Zakharova, Diana Vichneva, and Ulyana Lopatkina are already prima ballerinas, acknowledged stars of the dance. The film introduces teachers, choreographers, and company leaders who disclose what it takes to be the best, and give us a glimpse into their own commitment to ballet. But the young women are the focus. The many filmed interviews and dance sequences -- in the classroom, rehearsal studio, and on stage of the Mariinsky Theatre -- reveal their uncommon talent and individuality.

Is it any good?

Beautifully filmed, with an emphasis on the dancers' passion for their art, Ballerina succeeds in creating memorable pictures of talented young women driven to succeed. Audiences will root for each of them and admire them for their devotion, their work ethic, and their spirit.

Diane Baker's English narration is easy-to-understand. The Russian ballerinas, who speak enough English to give clarity to their thoughts, are delightful, engaging, and very relatable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the enormous work and devotion that young ballerinas commit to. What are some of the things they give up to pursue their goals?

  • Is there an art, sport, occupation, or way of life you think you'd be willing to undertake knowing the sacrifices and/or rewards you might experience?

  • What aspects of the elite ballet world are not shown or discussed in this documentary?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dance

Themes & Topics

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