"A featherlight delight of beauty and perfection"

From the very opening scene La Danse is a beautiful and delicious experience, taking you behind the curtain at the Paris Opera Ballet, one of the most renowned ballet companies in the world. The dialogue is almost entirely in French, transporting the audience to rehearsals, fund-raising planning and daily chatter that surrounds the dancers as they prepare seven very different performances - Paquita by Pierre Lacotte, The Nutcracker by Rudolf Noureev, Genus by Wayne McGregor, Medea by Angelin Preljocaj, The House of Bernarda Alba by Mats Ek, Romeo and Juliet by Sasha Waltz and Orpheus and Eurydyce by Pina Bausch.

Like hundreds of thousands of little girls, I wanted to be a prima ballerina when I grew up. I begged Father Chritmas to leave me a tutu and pointes under the tree and loved the mesmerising glamour of the costume shops my parents obligingly took me to in preparation for my first recital. To me ballet dancers were totally exquisite, so wonderfully elegant, they were like beings from a magical world. Wiseman captures this perfectly. You never get the sense that the camera is intruding - he is happy to film from any spare corner he can find and unlike so many post-reality TV documentaries you don't feel as though something is being done especially for the camera, nothing feels rehearsed or re-filmed from the 'right' angle. 

The dialogue, soothing and entirely unpretentious, comes primarily from Brigitte Lefèvre who joined the Paris Opera Ballet as a dancer at the age of eight, progressed to choreography and is now the company's Director of Dance. Under her guidance young girls and established grates alike stretch, pliet and pirouette to enchanting perfection. It's inspiring to see so many people completely in love with what they do, committed beyond most people's ability to practice and rehearse and listen to direction until they can manipulate their bodies and minds to encapture their choreographer's vision exactly. 

Don't be put off by the length of this film. There is no doubt that you will switch off, but your thoughts will take you someplace beautiful and when you regain focus you will immediately be transported back to the front row seat of a once in a lifetime experience. Pure luxurious joy.