Ballerinas figure prominently in movies and TV, with depictions ranging from spot-on to unrealistic.
We sat down with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, to discuss 11 of the most well-known ballet scenes, drawing from dance movies like “Suspiria” and “Black Swan” and TV shows like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
Isabella gives us her thoughts on what makes ballet and hip-hop such a great match onscreen, from movies like “Step Up” and “Save The Last Dance” to music videos like Kanye West’s “Runaway.”
Having danced for Jennifer Lawrence in “Red Sparrow”, Isabella talks about the important role that ballet doubles play in making A-list actors look like professionals on the big screen.
Plus, she talks about why ballerinas’ intensive training requires them to be world-class athletes — not the self-destructive, troubled artists you often see in Hollywood movies.
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Following is a transcript of the video.

– Hi, I’m Isabella Boylston, and I’m a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre. This is the movie that made everyone ask me if I went to Juilliard. [laughing] Oh, my God. Oh, yeah. Bring out the chair, everybody. Bring the props out. Oh, dance double. Oh, my God. Little samba action there, OK. Oh, an aerial. Put some gymnastics in there. They were trying to meld some classical ballet moves with some hip-hop elements. I would say with varying degrees of success. You can tell definitely in this scene when they used the dance double versus not. She does a big jeté, and that’s clearly a professional. Those are called fouettés, when you, like, whip your leg around and pull it in. And those are a pretty iconic and challenging step. You can tell, like, Julia Stiles, her movement is a little …read more

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