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© Dokumentation »Tanz des Lebens« © Feuer & Flamme Film
© Dokumentation »Tanz des Lebens« © Feuer & Flamme Film
© Dokumentation »Tanz des Lebens« © Feuer & Flamme Film
© Dokumentation »Tanz des Lebens« © Feuer & Flamme Film

Documentary film »Tanz des Lebens – Die Schüler*innen der Ballettakademie der Wiener Staatsoper«

Why do young people dedicate their lives to dance? The new documentary film »Tanz des Lebens – Die Schüler*innen der Ballettakademie der Wiener Staatsoper« provides fascinating insights into the everyday lives of young dancers and their training at Austria’s most important ballet training institution.

For the students, ballet is a passion and a self-chosen professional dream. Diligence, ambition, stamina, quick comprehension, musicality, self-control and accuracy – a complex overall package – are needed to complete the training. Discipline and renunciation are a voluntary decision that does not automatically have to be associated with compulsion or drill.

For the television documentary »Tanz des Lebens« (3sat/ORF/Feuer & Flamme, 55 min.), director Jennifer Rezny accompanied the students of the Vienna State Opera Ballet Academy for a year. She shows them in their everyday teaching, but also in unique situations such as the rehearsals for the Vienna Opera Ball or in the matinee on the big stage of the Vienna State Opera as well as in private. It also shows – from the students’ point of view – how the newly appointed management of the Ballet Academy and their team have succeeded in fundamentally reforming the training and adapting it to contemporary standards since 2020.

On 11 November 2023, the film will be broadcast on 3sat at 10.15 p.m. and will then be available in the 3sat media library for 30 days.

The documentary will be available for an unlimited period of time on the website of the production company »Feuer & Flamme« from the second half of November.

Further information can be found HERE.

Statements on the film

»This clever film not only comes at the right time, but also manages to perform a small miracle despite the undisputedly difficult situation in which ballet and dance education is currently moving worldwide. Without wanting to gloss over anything, he shows with sensual images and an excellent dramaturgical structure why young people today still want to pursue this wonderful profession; shows how much pleasure and joy it can bring, how great it is to be a dancer; what a valuable life training it can additionally be. Seeing the students dance is inspiring. To hear them think, to hear them speak and articulate gives nothing less than hope for the future. As artistic director, I am proud of the change and development that the training at the Vienna State Opera Ballet Academy has undergone in the last three years. I thank everyone who has contributed to this!«

Martin Schläpfer
Ballet Director & Chief Choreographer of the Vienna State Ballet &
Artistic Director of the Ballet Academy of the Vienna State Opera

»The film team accompanied us for a whole year and ended up being part of our ›family‹. Its presence was so unobtrusive and sensitive that we were able to be completely ourselves in front of the running cameras and thus an authentic picture was created. For me it is an extraordinary feeling to see the work that my excellent, highly motivated team at the Ballet Academy has done over a year summarised in just under an hour, but also to experience our students in the Ballet Academy and outside in so many facets through the camera’s gaze. I was enchanted by the many precious moments captured in the film. They show how alive ballet is for young people and give me hope that this art form will live on in the future. But they also show how in the past three years we have succeeded in raising the standards of the most important institution for ballet education in Austria to a first-class level, where the students’ well-being is always at the centre. But what is also impressive for me about the documentary is the cinematic handling of light – the real light in our rooms, but also the light that our students radiate through their energy.«

Christiana Stefanou
Director of the Ballet Academy of the Vienna State Opera

»The film focuses entirely on the experiences of the students of the Vienna State Opera Ballet Academy. Our aim was to be present as directly as possible in their everyday school life, their free time and at important stages of their training and thus to give the viewers a more concrete and deeper understanding of the personal motivation and the challenging everyday life of young dance students. The students are at the centre. Accordingly, the film does without a voice-over, but also without interviews with the management and teaching staff. In order to be as little in the way of the students as possible and to be able to flexibly film what happens spontaneously on location, we produced the film with reduced equipment and conducted a large part of the interviews situationally, i.e. in the style of reportage.«

Jennifer Rezny

The director Jennifer Rezny

The Viennese director Jennifer Rezny studied theatre, film and media science and graduated in film studies at the former Vienna Film School. In 2008, she completed her specialisation in »screenplay«. She gained her first professional experience as an editor and assistant director at ORF. Since 2015 she has been working as a freelance director and author. In 2019, her film »Nie genug – der Körperkult in Sozialen Medien« (Never Enough – the Body Cult in Social Media) was nominated for the Franz Grabner Award at the Diagonale and for the Silver MediaLÖWIN. Together with Florian Gebauer, she was awarded the 2022 Adult Education Television Prize for the kreuz & quer documentary »Speisen wie die Götter«.

For more information on Ballet Academy of the Vienna State Opera, click HERE.