Ever wish you could go behind the scenes of the often-cloistered Bolshoi Ballet? This month, HBO is airing a new documentary that does just that.
Bolshoi Babylon began filming in 2013, during the aftermath of the acid attack on the company’s (then) artistic director Sergei Filin. The gruesome act of violence had caught the attention of news teams around the globe—including Bolshoi Babylon’s director Nick Read and producer Mark Franchetti. But ballet fans will be glad to find out that Bolshoi Babylon isn’t a flashy whodunit. Instead, the cameras delve a little deeper into the company’s inner workings: We see board meetings, company classes and even some of the dancers’ homes. “Our goal was to show the Bolshoi—the institution and its people—in three dimensions,” Read says. “And it was a privilege to be right in its heart, backstage and in the wings for about 20 performances.”
The result doesn’t skimp on the reality of life as a Bolshoi ballerina. Principals Maria Alexandrova and Maria Allash, along with soloist Anastasia Meskova, tell all—and we get snippets of them performing in Bolshoi classics, including Swan Lake and La Bayadère.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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Madison Jordan and Jarrod Tyler Paulson brought their real-life romance to the audition stage. (Adam Rose/FOX)
It's usually right around the third or fourth week of "So You Think You Can Dance" audition rounds that we start itching for the live shows. Sure, the auditions are fun, inspiring, and entertaining, but at a certain point, we reach audition saturation. (And the live shows are just so good and feature so much more Cat Deeley.)
All that said, Nigel and co. kept things spicy this week, so our attention remained firmly glued to the screen. (It's been 16 seasons—who are we to doubt Nigel Lythgoe, sir?) Here's how it all went down.