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Ballet in Three Acts, with prologue and epilogue

"Ballet in Three Acts, with prologue and epilogue" is a story of a ballet soloist Andrey Merkuriev of Bolshoi Theater.

Ardent for dance and devoted to giving his most on stage, unwavering, punctilious Andrey stands out amid the Theater’s backstage realm of absurdities, institutional bleakness, and stress.

His portrayal of three stage roles: Magician, Old Father and Toreador from iconic ballets of The Nutcracker, Lady of Camellias and Don Quixote, take place in an unexplored space where Andrey's subconsciousness intertwines with his performance, while abstract becomes tangible, and stage and human experience cross paths.

    Key Cast
    Director of Photography
    Sound Design & Correction
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Балет в Трёх Актах, с прологом и эпилогом
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    47 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    February 14, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    Russian Federation
  • Country of Filming:
    Russian Federation
  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography - DANIYA SCHEULOVA

Daniya Scheulova is a Moscow-born film director. Her work include videos, advertisement and theater collaborations, linked to a small independent production studio. This is her first documentary feature as a Director and Producer.

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Director Statement

It has been a unique opportunity for me to be filming ballet soloist Andrey Merkuriev behind-the-scenes of the famed Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.
Unnoticed, we went on following Andrey through the terrain of corridors, dressing and rehearsal rooms, taking an intimate foray into the life cycle of his three performances.

Cinematographically, I think it’s difficult to transmit the presence of the dancer, his unique “aura” on stage. Film on ballet, in my opinion, is bland, without taste, there’s no vibration, no perfume in it. I was not so interested in showing the view from outside the 'aquarium', rather swim together with the dancer. That’s why walking on liminal space between Andrey’s subconsious and the setting of the Theater's backstage, with it's rigid, often absurd and dysfunctional rhythms was my way to experience the performance.

It was there where I truly understood that dancers are the noblest and most fragile of artists. Knowing well that their work will not only not outlive them, but will not even outlive that performance, on that day, in that theater, in that city. I also found an interconnection between dance and life. If the dance is an art of "self-erasure", each following move erases the previous, our life’s own moves are also ever-changing and disappearing: we can not be sure of anything, there is no prospect of immortality, and perfection is often impossible to reach. As Albert Camus once said: ”People believe they are sure of something while it is not so”.

The slice of transcendence that we gaze on stage, the grandeur and triumph of human achievement and the magic of the ballet dance may be very brief but it will linger in some hearts and it will surely not leave one untouched.