Winner, Director’s Guild Award, Calgary International Film Festival (2023)
Dir: Chelsea McMullan.
Canada, 2023, 100 min.
Jurgita Dronina, Shaelynn Estrada, Karen Kain.
“[Director] McMullan takes the camera backstage at the National Ballet of Canada’s 2022 production of Swan Lake, choreographed for the first time by Artistic Director Karen Kain… The documentary focuses on not just the creation of a new ballet through its choreographers, performers, technicians, and designers, but Kain’s legacy as a dancer as well as the challenges that come with modernizing traditional art forms… The story weaves in and out of the rehearsal spaces and homes of the dancers… [They] deal with not just nerve pain and strained muscles, but a performance that sees them running 5 km in a single act of choreography… Each woman McMullan has chosen to focus on provides poignant insight into life as a dancer, sharing their vulnerable moments on camera as they find their place on the stage, both literally and figuratively. Executive produced by Neve Campbell (who got her start at Canada’s National Ballet School), Swan Song offers an intimate look at the National Ballet of Canada like we have never seen before. With outstanding visuals and gorgeous production, by the time the final curtain falls, it is impossible not to have a deeper appreciation and love of ballet.” –Rachel West, AWFJ