Netflix has commissioned more than ten new dance movies over the past year. The ballet-focused Dancing on Glass is the most recent, directed by Jota Linares, produced in Spain this year and now streaming on Netflix UK. So what’s the enduring appeal of ballet on screen – and is this genre in any way representative of real life?
The Red Shoes (1948) is widely regarded as the film that made the genre. It follows the story of Victoria Page (played by Moira Shearer) a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale ballerina who joins the world-renowned Ballet Lermontov, named after the ballet master, who tests her dedication by making her choose between her career and love, ultimately dancing herself to death. The director, Michael Powell, said himself that the central theme of the film was ‘about dying for art … that art is worth dying for’.