Kenneth Elvebakk has crafted a documentary that celebrates the endurance and determination as well as the talent of a small group of boys who aspire to be ballet dancers. This 2013 film follows three friends over the course of four years as they try to realise their jointly held ambition to enter the best ballet schools.
At the centre is Lukas who, as it turns out, is the more talented of the three. He has strong bonds with friends Syvert and Torgeir but the differing levels of application show through as the film develops. Years of dedication to their art brings about moments of disappointment, one of them forgets his moves in a prestigious competition, as well as triumph. All three want entry into Norway’s Ballet School but one has the opportunity to audition for the Royal Ballet in London, bringing about further doubts about whether he wants to move away from family and friends. One has doubts about ballet and there is a break while he assesses his future.
The saddest part of the film comes when Asian- Norwegian Syvert says to camera that he wishes he were more ‘Norwegian’. There is little follow-up to this sad admission but it hangs in the air.
What comes across most strongly, though, is the lack of any concern about being a boy in the world of ballet. Maybe, at this level, such concerns have long departed or maybe they exist in a more accepting society. In any case, the story here is of growing up and friendship. It is a short film that could have been longer but it is worth watching.
‘Ballet Boys’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?