Review: “Ghetto Ballet”, HBO Documentary

HBO recently aired a documentary, Ghetto Ballet. In Cape Town, South Africa, Philip Boyd founded Dance for All to train disadvantaged young people in the art of classical, modern and traditional dance. Every year, Dance for All holds an audition for a professional dance company. The 2009 documentary follows the progress of four young dancers as they prepare for and undergo the audition.

The documentary is short (less than an hour). We found ourselves wanting to know more about the students involved, but several interesting concepts or questions were raised that gave us some things to consider. Of particular interest is the story of Simbalke, a young woman with talent but an “untraditional” ballet body who, like many dancers, deals with body image issues. The follow-up to her story was covered by CNN and is available as a video online.