American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland is a trailblazer who is changing the game of classical ballet. And now the amazing 32-year-old is sharing her life story with the whole world in a new documentary, out this week: A Ballerina’s Tale.

Directed by Nelson George, the film gives viewers an inside look at the ups and downs Copeland faced on the path to becoming ABT's first black female principal. Confronted with challenges ranging from body shaming to injury, Copeland fought her way to the top ranks of classical ballet by believing in herself and taking chances.

The documentary hits theaters this Wednesday, October 14. And Copeland and George will be hosting a series of Q&As starting on October 14 at the IFC Center and Lincoln Center in New York. To purchase tickets for the Q&As, click here; for a list of theaters playing the film, visit aballerinastale.com.

Back in May, we told you about the forthcoming movie Ballerina, an animated film about a young girl who dreams of joining the Paris Opéra Ballet. Elle Fanning voices the main character, Félicie, and we've heard that none other than Maddie Ziegler will voice another character named Camille.

POB artistic director Aurelie Dupont has been overseeing the film's choreography, and we can totally tell that a professional ballet eye has been watching the animation process. Aside from a few questionable moments (dancing on pointe in street shoes is the main one), Ballerina looks like it accurately portrays ballet.

Of course, it's still an animated movie so that means there's plenty of room for fun. Check out two trailers below!

The movie will be in theaters this Christmas, just in time to treat yourself during Nutcracker season and root for an underdog chasing her ballet dreams!

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A new dance movie, Cuban Fury, is coming to a theater near you this April! I caught a preview of the flick this week, and let me tell you: Some of the salsa dance scenes are hot, hot, hot. The subject matter, however, may be inappropriate for younger viewers.

Cuban Fury tells the story of super-awkward Bruce (played by Nick Frost of The World’s End and Shaun of the Dead), who quit dance lessons after being bullied (read: forced to eat the sequins off his dance costume) as a teenager. Now all grown up, he falls for his attractive boss (played by Rashida Jones of “Parks and Recreation”), who just happens to love salsa dancing, so he decides to brush up his skills. But will he be able to out dance his conniving co-worker Drew (played by Chris O’Dowd of Bridesmaids)?

A standout of the movie is fiery salsa dancer Yanet Fuentes (pictured with Frost above), who has danced with Shakira and Rihanna and on "So You Think You Can Dance" in the UK. You'll catch a glimpse of her steamy dance-off with Bruce in the movie's trailer (at 1:10):

Dancers on the set of Battle of the Year (by Elohim Carrau)

Move over, Step Up: There’s a new dance movie in town. Battle of the Year stars singer Chris Brown and features real b-boy crews from all over the world. Dance Spirit chatted with choreographer Dave Scott (who’s also worked on You Got Served and Step Up 2: The Streets) about the film, which hits theaters September 13.

What is Battle of the Year about?

Dave Scott: It’s based on a documentary from 2007 called Planet B-Boy, and we shot the majority of the footage at the actual Battle of the Year competition in France with crews from around the world.

What was it like working with b-boying newbie Chris Brown?

DS: The movement was hard for Chris, especially since we put together an all-star crew to represent America with dancers from a bunch of amazing crews. Everything dancers can do on their feet, these b-boyers can do upside down on their hands. Chris worked hard to earn the other dancers’ respect as a crew member. And he did more than just dance—he acted his butt off.

Do you think the movie will show viewers a new side of b-boying?

DS: B-boy battles are like the X Games of dance. Yes, b-boying is entertaining—you’ve seen it on commercials and in other films—but seeing the b-boy lifestyle makes you understand why the movements are so aggressive. I want viewers to really respect the style and see it as a sport. This isn’t something you can just get up off the couch and do.

Get ready for some high-flying b-boy action!

Get excited! Battle of the Year is coming to theaters this fall, and it looks like the kind of movie we will instantly become obsessed with.

My first thought when watching the trailer? OMG, that's my boyfriend Sawyer from "Lost"! Second thought: This dancing is fantastic.

The hard-hitting b-boy flick features choreography by Dave Scott, "So You Think You Can Dance" favorite and choreographer of Step Up 2: The Streets, and Rich and Tone Talauega, best-known for their work with Madonna.

And to add one more ounce of awesome, Battle of the Year will be in 3D!

Check out the trailer:

It's official: one of our favorite quirky dance films comes to Blu-Ray tomorrow!

This movie may be called Strictly Ballroom, but it involves much, much more: elaborate costumes and makeup, romance and, of course, a ton of incredible dancing.

The 1992 Australian classic, directed by Baz Luhrmann (who brought us Moulin Rouge), tells the tale of rebellious dancer Seth Hastings, who loses his partner just before the prestigious Pan Pacific Grand Prix Championship. Rushing to find a replacement, he’s thrown together with the clumsy-yet-passionate Fran, with whom he shares a dream of performing original steps. In defiance of all the competition's guidelines, the unlikely duo face criticism and doubt from nearly everyone they encounter. No spoilers here; You'll have to watch to see what happens! All drama and obstacles aside, the pair’s talent and dedication make this spectacle the classic it has become.

The best part? We're giving away 5 copies of this fun flick! Click here to enter.

This year’s documentary on Youth America Grand Prix, First Position, has been hogging all the limelight lately (understandably—it’s awesome! Read our take here.) But if you loved it as much as we did, you’re in luck because, over the last couple years, some equally captivating dance documentaries have been released. Here are two of my favorites:

Dancing Across Borders is a film about the development of a Cambodian boy named Sokvannara (Sy) Sar into a strong and powerful ballet dancer. And I mean powerful. You should see his tour en l’airs! In January 2000, Sy was performing a traditional Cambodian dance in his native country when American dance patron Anne Bass spotted him. She was captivated by his performance and asked Sy to audition for the School of American Ballet. After many conversations and lots of decision-making, 16-year-old Sy finds himself under the instruction of Olga Kostritzky (the embodiment of tough love).

As you watch him leave behind everything (including parents who don’t fully understand why he’s going) to dance in a foreign country, despite the fact that he has little knowledge of English and had never even seen ballet before, you can’t help but be truly inspired by his drive and work ethic. Check out the trailer here:

Only When I Dance is another one of my favorite inspirational international dance documentaries. It follows the lives of two aspiring teenage ballet dancers. Sound familiar? The major difference between this film and First Position is that the dancers in Only When I Dance are both living in poverty in the Favelas, or the slums, of Brazil. Despite prejudice, financial difficulty and doubt, these two are determined to beat the odds and dance in international ballet companies.

It won’t take more than a few seconds for you to fall in love with Irlan, a breathtaking dancer with so much heart and a smile that’ll make you melt. Although you’ll be rooting for him the moment he appears on the screen, his father is initially skeptical. Ballet is still seen by many in Brazil as an art form exclusive to wealthy, white elite, and is certainly not seen as a suitable career for boys. I felt like a proud parent as I watched him progress enough to attend the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, and couldn’t help but giggle at his excitement at seeing snowflakes for the first time.

Isabella is a beautiful, black ballerina with incredible passion and a twinkle in her eye. Unfortunately, the color of her skin and her weight (by professional ballet standards) work against her. Plus, her father works two jobs to barely make ends meet. She’s taken under the wings of former ballerina Mariza Estrella, founder of the Centro de Dança, who is determined to help her succeed. (She’s fierce!) Watch the trailer here:

I promise you won’t be disappointed. Sy, Irlan and Isabella certainly know how to inspire.

 

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