In Balanchine’s Classroom

Director: Connie Hochman

Film Info

  • Year: 2021
  • Film Format: DCP, Blu-ray and DVD
  • Origin: USA
  • Runtime: 88 mins
  • Color and B&W
  • Language: English

IN BALANCHINE’S CLASSROOM takes us back to the glory years of George Balanchine’s New York City Ballet through the remembrances of his former dancers and their quest to fulfill the vision of a genius. Opening the door to his studio, Balanchine’s private laboratory, they reveal new facets of the groundbreaking choreographer: taskmaster, mad scientist, and spiritual teacher. Today, as his former dancers teach a new generation, questions arise: what was the secret of his teaching? Can it be replicated?

Filled with never before seen archival footage of Balanchine at work during rehearsals, classes, and in preparation for his most seminal works, along with interviews with many of his adored and adoring dancers and those who try to carry on his legacy today, this is Balanchine as you have never seen him, and a film for anyone who loves ballet and the creative process.  

In Balanchine’s Classroom is a Zeitgeist Films release in association with Kino Lorber. It opened in theaters on September 17. To book this film please contact Nancy Gerstman or Emily Russo.

A press kit, stills, social media assets, jpegs of the poster, and Quicktime and DCP files of the trailer are available to download from our Exhibition DropBox

BALANCHINE is a Trademark of The George Balanchine Trust
Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Connie Hochman

Connie Hochman was a professional ballet dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet where she performed many of George Balanchine’s masterworks. As a child in the 1960s, Connie trained at the School of American Ballet and danced alongside the New York City Ballet, with Balanchine at the helm. During these years, she witnessed a profound bond between the master and his dancer-disciples, which continued to inspire and fascinate her. Decades later, Connie's childhood memories of Balanchine, combined with a desire to understand more, led her on a mission to solve a mystery. What exactly happened in Balanchine’s classroom, where he developed the dancers and the dancing to serve his choreographic vision?

In 2007, Connie began a series of interviews with former Balanchine dancers - ninety in all – to explore the phenomenon of Balanchine’s classroom. Why did he teach and not just choreograph? What did he teach? How did he teach? How did his daily class relate to his choreography? Their remembrances of his unorthodox methods and transformative teaching form the basis of IN BALANCHINE'S CLASSROOM.

In addition to the oral histories, Connie launched an extensive search for visuals that would bring the story to life. She discovered a trove of never-before-seen archival footage of Balanchine in America. With approval from The George Balanchine Trust, Connie traveled around the country and to Europe to film Balanchine’s former dancers staging his ballets, teaching class, and passing on their knowledge to today’s generation.

As a first time filmmaker, Connie consulted with Louis Psihoyos (The Cove, Chasing Extinction), and Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine (Ballets Russes, The Galapagos Affair), each of whom offered guidance and helped her form the creative team behind IN BALANCHINE'S CLASSROOM.

“Critic's Pick!” – Teo Bugbee, The New York Times
“Just fascinating….beautifully done. A feast for the eyes and ears. I couldn’t recommend it more highly. And if you’re not interested in dance, all the more reason to watch IN BALANCHINE’S CLASSROOM.” – David Sterritt, Films in Focus
“An insightful film with brilliant historic dance footage and interviews that make you wish you had been there.” – Alice Alyse, LA Dance Chronicle

Playdates

Venue City State Date
Ryder Film Series Bloomington IN NOW PLAYING ON KINO MARQUEE
Gene Siskel Film Theatre Chicago IL NOW PLAYING
Cleveland Cinematheque Cleveland OH NOW PLAYING ON KINO MARQUEE
Roxie Cinema San Francisco CA NOW PLAYING ON KINO MARQUEE
International Film Series Boulder CO NOW PLAYING ON KINO MARQUEE
Downing Film Center Newburgh NY NOW PLAYING ON KINO MARQUEE
Real Art Ways Hartford CT NOW PLAYING IN THEATRE
Ambler Theater Ambler PA NOW PLAYING IN THEATER
Alexander Film Society Cloverdale CA NOW PLAYING @Home Arts
Digital Gym Cinema San Diego CA NOW PLAYING ON KINO MARQUEE
Avalon Theater Washington DC NOW PLAYING @Home Arts
Amherst Cinema Amherst MA NOW PLAYING @Home Arts
Chelsea Theater Chapel Hill NC NOW PLAYING @Home Arts
New Plaza Cinema New York City NY NOW PLAYING ON KINO MARQUEE
Park City Film Society Park City UT NOW PLAYING @Home Arts
The Loft Tucson AZ NOW PLAYING @Home Arts
Rafael Film Center Mill Valley CA NOW PLAYING
Film Streams Omaha NE NOW PLAYING @Home Arts
Laemmle Theater Los Angeles CA NOW PLAYING ON LAEMMLE'S VIRTUAL PLATFORM
Detroit Institute of Art Detroit MI OCTOBER 29-31 IN THEATER
Esquire Theater Denver CO STARTS OCTOBER 29 IN THEATER
Visulite Cinema Staunton VA NOVEMBER 1 ONLY IN THEATER
SIFF CINEMA Seattle WA NOVEMBER 5- 7 IN THEATER
Lines Vermont Studio South Burlington VT STARTS NOVEMBER 6 IN THEATRE
Houston Cinema Arts Society Houston TX STARTS NOVEMBER 11
Court Square Theater Harrisonburg VA NOVEMBER 10 - 14 IN THEATER
Rodeo Cinema Oklahoma City OK STARTS NOVEMBER 12 IN THEATRE
Civic Theater Allentown PA NOVEMBER 14 ONLY IN THEATER
Vancity Theater (Vancouver International FF) Vancouver BC NOVEMBER 17 - 23 IN THEATER
Circle Cinema Tulsa OK STARTS NOVEMBER 19 IN THEATRE