Ballet Boys is a feature length documentary that follows in the footsteps of three adolescent male dancers as they are about to graduate from the Norwegian Ballet Academy and move on to the next stage of their training. ★★★CREDIT: Ballet Boys
These classmates, who are also very good friends, all love dancing but they are coming to the point in their lives where they have to make tough decisions as to whether they want to make a career in ballet, and if in fact they are actually proficient enough to be able to do so.
The three of them : Lukas, Syvert and Torgeir have already had to sacrifice many of the usual joys of being regular teenage boys and having fun with their other mates for the sake of their dedication to their art. In Syvert’s case he has also been neglecting his academic school work and may not even be able to graduate. They are all very likable boys whose charm and enthusiasm comes shining through in all the talking head interviews, as they very innocently are so unsure of what could/should happen next.
Svyert is the odd one of the trio as he complains that as an Asian Immigrant he has difficulty getting a girlfriend, and also he cannot make up his mind at all whether to stick with dancing or not. In fact during one school term he gives up ballet completely only to soon return and ask to be allowed back in the Academy. Torgeir on the other hand looks like a classic blond Norwegian lad and he was a late starter with ballet. Despite his natural talent he lacks both the confidence and drive to be able to decide if he really wants to spend his life dancing.
Of the three, Lukas is unquestionable the star, and although he had no intention of auditioning at the prestigious Royal Ballet School in London, they invite him anyway and so he pirouettes his way into being offered one of the few rare places. Despite the honour of his talent being recognised in this way, he is still in two minds whether to accept the offer. The other boys have been offered places with the local Ballet Company which will give them a great training and a BA degree, and plus its free for Norwegians. Going abroad however means saying goodbye to all of that and not just leaving home but handing his parents a 70000 euro annual tuition fees which may not all be covered by scholarships. When you see the genuine angst on his face, you suddenly remember that the boy has only just celebrated his 15th birthday.
This well-meaning movie talks about the all boys prowess as dancers but sadly fails to show us much of them in action. And the narrative as cute as it is, lacks real substance to make it as compelling as it could have been. We should therefore at least be grateful for Lukas’s success at the end, as without this the movie would have had no climax at all.
Having said that it’s a refreshing insight into ballet from a male perspective for a change, and even as lightweight as director Kenneth Elvebakk has made this profile, it is still difficult not to be charmed by these three young men and want them all to succeed and be happy too.
In UK cinemas on 12th September 2014