Princess Grace of Monaco is the narrator of this documentary about the Vaganova Choreographic Institute, also known as the Kirov School of Leningrad, where the Soviet Union trains an elite bundle of students who will be the cream of its balletic future. Each year thousands of children, 8 to 13 in age, apply for admission. Twenty are admitted, based on physical conformation, long legs, well-arched feet, and flexible joints. The rejectees cry. Those luck or unlucky enough to make the grade will find themselves separated from their families, isolated from the daily run of Soviet life, and totally immersed in the art to which they are expected to dedicate their lives. It's a rigorous system, but it works. Graduates of the Kirov School include such greats as Nureyev, Baryshnikov, Nijinsky, Pavlova, and Blanchine. But dance is what The Children of Theatre Street is mostly about. The screen pulsates with fresh, supple bodies learning all aspects of their art from the most rudimentary exercise to the finest nuance of a finished performance. The Children of Theatre Street is a revealing view of the way the Russians go about continuing their great rendition of classical ballet. No lover of ballet and children will want to miss it. Theatre Street tells an important story and tells it brilliantly…at the Kirov School there will always be another vintage year, and Theatre Street tells why. - Rudolf Nureyev. I cried when I saw Theatre Street for the first time. It brings back many memories. - Natalia Makarova. Anyone interested in ballet should see Theatre Street. - Anna Kisselgoff, New York Times. 92 mins. (2004) DVD-Region 1.
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