Janet: A Silent Ballet Film

Four Edgar Degas paintings come to life in this haunting silent ballet film about alienation, acceptance, and the powerful, enduring legacy of Janet Collins, the first African-American prima ballerina to dance full time with a major company, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in 1951.

  • Adam E. Stone
    Abstractly You Loved Me, Thank You for the Letter, Cache Girl Saves the World, A Life Unhappening
  • Adam E. Stone
    Abstractly You Loved Me, Thank You for the Letter, Cache Girl Saves the World, A Life Unhappening
  • Adam E. Stone
    Abstractly You Loved Me, Thank You for the Letter, Cache Girl Saves the World, A Life Unhappening
  • Kiara Felder (courtesy of Atlanta Ballet)
    Key Cast
  • Will Heisner
    Key Cast
  • DeSande R
    Key Cast
  • Nayomi Van Brunt
    Key Cast
  • Heath Gill (courtesy of Atlanta Ballet)
    Key Cast
  • Abi Tan-Gamino
    Key Cast
  • Sarah Baer
    Key Cast
  • Veronica Francis
    Key Cast
  • Diana Shepherd
    Key Cast
  • Raynah Unes-Reid
    Key Cast
  • Agatha Franca
    Key Cast
  • Tara Lee (courtesy of Atlanta Ballet)
  • Jason Greene
  • Abby Hargrave
    Abstractly You Loved Me
  • April Briddick
  • Michelle Greene
    Key Grip
  • Jason Greene
    Color Grading
  • Project Type:
    Short, Other
  • Genres:
    Silent Ballet Film
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 15, 2014
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital (ProResHQ)
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Urban Mediamakers Film Festival
    Norcross, GA
    October 15, 2014
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • International Black Women's Film Festival
    Oakland, CA
    December 4, 2014
    California premiere
    Official Selection
  • Oklahoma Dance Film Festival
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    February 15, 2015
    Oklahoma Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Equality International Film Festival
    Oakland, California
    December 14, 2014
    Official Selection
  • Blaquefyre Independent Film Festival
    Centralia, Illinois
    January 24, 2015
    Illinois premiere
    Official Selection and People's Choice Award for Best Experimental Film
  • Alhambra Theatre Film Festival
    Evansville, Indiana
    April 9, 2015
    Indiana Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Making a Difference for Reel Film Festival
    New Jersey
    April 18, 2015
    New Jersey premiere
    Official Selection
  • Eastern North Carolina Film Festival
    Winterville, NC
    June 13, 2015
    North Carolina Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Middle Coast Film Festival
    Bloomington, IN
    August 15, 2015
    Official Selection
  • St. Louis Black Film Festival
    St. Louis, MO
    October 10, 2015
    Missouri Premiere
    Official Selection
  • FilmFest by Rogue Dancer (July 2021 Edition)
    Raleigh, North Carolina (online, limited access)
    United States
    July 23, 2021
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Adam E. Stone

Adam E. Stone's latest film is the feature-length poetic essay film "Atmospheric Marginalia" (2022). His films have been featured at over 140 festivals worldwide, and have won numerous awards. Previous short poem and essay films include "If Any" (2021), "Awake" (2021), "Specks and Flashes" (2020), "Elegy for Unfinished Lives" (2020), "an entombing(dis)entombing" (2020), "Declarations" (2019), and "Gods Die Too" (2018). Previous short dance films include "Do Not Forget the Lost" (2019), "Summer Friend: A Ballet Film" (2016), "Resting Places: A Ballet Film" (2015), and "Janet: A Silent Ballet Film" (2014). He also is the writer, producer, and co-director of the feature-length fictional essay film "Abstractly You Loved Me" (2013), and is one of the co-producers of, and conducted many of the interviews for, the feature-length documentary "Black Hawk Down: The Untold Story" (DVD 2019). In 2012, Stone wrote and produced the spoken-word ballet "A Life Unhappening," which is about the impact of one woman's Alzheimer's disease on three generations of her family. In 2010, he wrote, directed, and produced the DVD novel "Cache Girl Saves the World: A Novel in Visions." He is also the author of three conventional print novels: "Xamon Song" (2006), "Kingston Fugue" (2007), and "The New Harmonies" (2009). He currently lives and works in Carbondale, Illinois.

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Director Statement

My decision to make a completely silent ballet film was influenced not only by the fact that members of non-dominant cultures historically have been, and to some extent continue to be, "silenced" within the world of classical ballet, but also by my desire to connect the film explicitly to the worlds of painting (as exemplified in the film by the four Degas paintings that come to life) and photography (as exemplified by the four ballet photos–of Adeline Genée, Daphne Dale, Harriet Toby, and Janet Collins–that play a key role in the film), worlds in which meaning has traditionally been conveyed without sound, and in which a work of art stands or falls strictly on the basis of whether its meaning, or story, has been successfully expressed by the use of the visual image alone. The film also pays homage to the great Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (1881-1931), the dancer who most inspired Janet Collins: Pavlova once told an interviewer that she planned "to try the experiment of a ballet without music some day," because she thought it "logical to suppose that dancing should call forth a melody in the brain of those who witness it," and such a ballet would allow every viewer to be "his or her own composer" - a sentiment that adds to and enriches the ideas about "silence" expressed by composer John Cage in his seminal 4'33" and earlier works. My hope is that the film inspires both reflection and action, and above all honors the legacy of Janet Collins and other early ballet dancers of color.