Christmas TV goes berserk for ballet
Has anyone else noticed the steep increase in ballet programmes dominating mainstream television? Stepping up from the usual camera-switched-on broadcast from the Royal Opera house, the BBC and Channel 4 seem to have gone mad for ballet this Christmas - with an exciting line-up of ballet treats to get you salivating at the mouth. Here's what I'm looking forward to watching this year while chomping mince pies:
- The Spirit of Diaghilev, 7.45pm, Friday 18 December, BBC Four
BBC Four recently brought us Margot - a film about the turbulent love life of Margot Fonteyn as well as english National Ballet performing in For Art's Sake: The story of the Ballet Russes (six days left to watch on iPlayer and next on Saturday at 01.30). Now comes an exciting new series of programmes celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Ballet Russes, featuring a range of new work, performances and choreographer interviews - starting with this week's celebration of the celebrated choreographer Diaghilev. Another reason to stay in from the cold on a Friday - or watch on iPlayer if you find it clashes with the office Christmas party.
- Ballet Boyz: The Rite of Spring, Wednesday 23 December, 1opm, BBC3
Continuing the BBC's Ballet Russes centenary celebration award-winning duo Michael Nunn and William Trevitt have been commissioned once more to deliver another ground-breaking documentary - following the production of Stravinsky's score. The Ballet Boyz performance/documentary Strictly Bolshoi was an unstoppable success in 2007. We've been waiting avidly for their latest production. See the tit-bit below to give you an idea of their production style.
- Swan Lake, 8.15pm, Christmas Eve, BBC Four
- Only When I dance, 1.25pm-3pm, Christmas Day - Channel 4
Brazil is the home of Samba but few people know just how many Brazilians are crying out for a ballet education. This film directed by Beadie Finzi focuses on two young Brazilian dancers and their struggle to make it as ballet dancers - battling against poverty and racism alongside the usual tough competition and weight issues. A real portrayal of the ballet world from the South American continent. We don't care about Christmas lunch - this cannot be missed.
- The Royal Ballet in Cuba, Christmas Day, 9pm, More4
The Ballet Boyz second commission for UK television. Michael Nunn and William Trevitt track The Royal Ballet's visit to Cuba earlier this year. This show promises not only to be delightfully entertaining and impeccably edited, but also to give unprecedented insight into both The Royal Ballet and The National Ballet of Cuba. You can catch it again on Saturday 26 December on More4 at 2.30am.
I don't know about you, but I am always in the stark minority when it comes to fighting over the remote at Christmas - ballet is never the family winner, and I usually end up either traipsing off to watch it somewhere else, or resigning myself to the fact I have to miss out on some of the best ballet tv to watch a re-run of a child's Christmas film. Why can't we see some of these great programmes spread out across the whole year? But this year I will at least have a week to watch the programmes at my leisure - the marvels of catch-up! I'm sure you'll agree it's a jam-packed schedule of ballet tv this Christmas. Make sure you don't miss out.