The Children of Theater Street- The way students were chosen for the Kirov (1977

(thank you Charlotte for reminding me of this!)

I can remember watching this as a young aspiring ballerina in Philadelphia. I was sort of an obsession, because it was the epitome of what becoming a dancer was, and because my father constantly threatened to ship me off to Russia! It brings back a lot of memories, ah sweet nostalgia…
First of all the film is introduced by the last, great and elegant Princess Grace, that was enough for me right there, but later as the this first clip progresses (around 7:00) the very specific and scientific methods of determining the which children possess the “ideal” body I find fascinating. That coupled with (and remember this was in the ’70’s) I find it interesting that the children are assessed in their underwear, some of the girls topless, and they actually shot them full on. Now the children are between 7-12 but it just shows you haw times have changed, in the way things are done and the way we view them. I the time I viewed this as a child I thought nothing of those scenes, now in 2010 I feel a bit strange watching the children being pushed pulled and prodded in of a table of women and men alike.
They were measured and weighed as well . It’s so interesting, in the other clip there are some great class work and training clips. enjoy this blast from the past. I wonder what happened to the children in the movie, how many actually made it through the training and how many actually danced for the Kirov?

4 thoughts on “The Children of Theater Street- The way students were chosen for the Kirov (1977”

  1. T’Ruth,
    I think they need to do a follow up movie to this…Whatever Happened to the Children of Theater Street? I, like you, found this fascinating back in the day. Were there any signs of physical injuries as a result of this training, how about and negative psychological effects; why and why not. Is this method still effective or is it antiquated thinking? You can’t deny the technical mastery that some of the young-ins possess at such an early age…DAMN!

  2. Not quite sure how I feel about the first video…. Kind of reminds me of a dog show! Mind you these are children; not dogs! It truely is amazing how whats acceptable and what is not has changed. The second video is great though so much better than the first. Makes you wonder though whatever happened to the children and their personalities, with only twenty a year its hard to believe they all made it to be Prima Ballerinas.

  3. Girl… I just finished watching this again (I have the video tape sadly). This time it was a different experience as I was viewing it with my young students ranging 5yrs of age to 10. What a balanced perspective they had. “Oh My Go-, they’re sooo Skinny Miss Stephanie! WHY???” I really hadn’t much to say after that… Yah… why? And seemingly so unhealthy at that!

  4. I discovered dance by wathcing thoses videos on youtube. I’m only sixteen and I’m from a really small place where there is no dance school. When I first felt like I wanted to try dance, I was like just forgot it it’s impossible here. Then I went on youtube and this is the fisrt video I watched. That was almost two years ago. Now I’m finally in a real dance school and when I first took a class there was so surprised that it was not like this anymore. And the bigest chnge might be that now n dancers are dancing not for their parents but for themeself.

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