First Run Features has released a documentary entitled “To Dance Like a Man.” This film revolves around three little boys, identical triplets, who want to be professional ballet dancers. They wish to someday attend ‘The National Ballet School of Cuba‘ which is a very prestigious school that only accepts a few people a year to learn dance and perhaps become a world famous dancer.
Angle, Cesar and Marcos, age 11 are followed around both at home and at school.
It is explained that Cuba is a country that loves their ballet. The viewer is shown the best dancers in the school, all of which want a chance to be in the big show, the national school. The dancers are interviewed and at the end of the film, you see which students made the cut and who didn’t.
The school, (the regular ballet school, not the national), is putting on a huge production of “Peter and the Wolf.” The three boys wait for several days to see which part they will get. The triplets get the parts of three cats. The performance will be held at the Grand Theater in Havana. The boys and the rest of the school is very excited.
Except for a few posters in classrooms, we see nothing of Fidel Castro. This makes the doc feel more friendly. It is only when the parents of the boys are interviewed and we find out that the state pays for their school and their health care that we remember this is a communist country. Many of these students look to ballet as a way of becoming an international citizen, instead of just a citizen of Cuba. This is also a reminder of the type country that Cuba is. Regardless, people interviewed love their country and they love their dance. As one woman said, “It is in their culture.”
The film drags a bit. If you don’t love docs and/or dance, you might get board. I found it a charming look inside a country that we get very few glimpses of.
First Run Features, buy the DVD or download from iTunes here.
First published on TIV.