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Divertissment: Everyday Dancers' Stories

Divertissment: Everyday Dancers' Stories
Industrial Strength Film
Rated NR
Now Showing at: Cincinnati Art Museum auditorium on July 22
Review by: Larry Thomas

Upon graduating from CCM's Electronic Media Department, Cincinnatian Ed Lippman knew his future involved movies and television. After working in these mediums in the Midwest, Lippman moved to Los Angeles in 1991, and racked up credits on such films as Ed Wood and Minority Report, and TV shows like ER, The X-Files and The Closer. He has completed his first feature-length documentary film, which will be having its premiere today and tomorrow here in Cincinnati.

Divertissment: Everyday Dancers' Stories is a heartfelt look at five amateur ballet dancers, all women, ranging in age from 40 to 61. The five are from all over the US and come together at a professionally run "ballet camp" for adult dancers. They have either come to dance late in life, or returned to dance after a lengthy absence.

Among them are a teacher who flies her own plane, a systems analyst, a research analyst, and two stay-at-home moms, one of whom home schools her children. While their lives are good, they've reached a point where something is needed for their own personal fulfillment. And for these five, their "something" is ballet.

The film manages to balance the back-stories with the ballet camp so that it never feels draggy, and that we get a good sense of what drives these women. There is no narration, allowing them to tell their stories in their own words. And the use of music is quite adept, ranging from original music written expressly for ballet classes, to a song by Over the Rhine. A couple of the camera angles and character setups are close to becoming documentary clichés, but other shots are quite imaginative, as is the editing.

A good documentary can do many things. First, and foremost, it will take you someplace new. You can meet people that may inspire you to do something different, or even change your life. It may aid you in understanding diverse points of view. And… just like in a good fiction film… it will entertain you. Divertissment: Everyday Dancers' Stories manages to accomplish all of these quite admirably.

And this film may even encourage you to follow suit with a dream or idea or a long-neglected passion of your own. It's well worth seeing.


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