‘FORCE OF NATURE NATALIA’ PORTRAIT OF A DANCE SUPERSTAR
The dynamic new film documentary about NATALIA OSIPOVA. Directed by Gerald Fox
Premiere: June 6th at the Curzon Mayfair at 6.30pm + Q&A with Gerald Fox and Natalia Osipova
Sunday June 9th – extra screening at Curzon Mayfair at 3pm + Q&A with Gerald Fox and Natalia Osipova
Curzon Mayfair, 38 Curzon St, Mayfair, London W1J 7TY Tickets: www.curzoncinemas.com
UK-wide cinema release from June 7th
Sky Arts TV broadcast: June 18th
FORCE OF NATURE NATALIA is a thrilling new film documentary about Royal Ballet Principal NATALIA OSIPOVA directed by the BAFTA, Prix Italia and Grierson award-winning British arts documentary filmmaker GERALD FOX.
Regularly considered to be one of the world’s greatest ever ballet dancers, Natalia Osipova is constantly in demand by audiences, ballet companies, choreographers, photographers and collaborators all over the world. Her time is beyond precious but director Gerald Fox has delivered the perfect treat for ballet fans, arts lovers and contemporary dance audiences with his superb film documentary which will have its UK cinema premiere at the Curzon Mayfair on Thursday June 6th.
Force of Nature Natalia follows a year in the life of this fabulous dancer. Fox takes the audience on a fascinating journey to the heart of the Royal Opera House, home of the Royal Ballet – through the labyrinthine backstage corridors to the airy studios – many named after ballet legends including Sir Frederick Ashton - to watch Osipova in the creation and rehearsal of some thrilling works: Russian prima ballerina Natalia Makarova’s revival of La Bayadere which requires Osipova to dance both lead roles – Gamzatti and Nikiya - on alternate nights, a challenge that she grasps with relish; Arthur Pita’s thrilling new dance/theatre work The Mother with the critically acclaimed dancer Jonathan Goddard which has its London premiere at the SouthBank on June 20th; Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s new piece, Medusa, with the Royal Ballet which opens May 8th and finally, an up-close-and-personal glimpse of Natalia and her partner, Jason Kittelberger, rehearsing their new contemporary piece, I’m Fine.
Film audiences gain a real sense of how much goes into bringing a work of dance into the light while Natalia’s rich dance history is explored through glorious clips of Royal Ballet productions of Swan Lake and Giselle as well as hitherto unseen footage from her personal archive. Focusing in on her tireless pursuit of the most challenging classical and contemporary roles, Gerry Fox’s film shows that Osipova really is a force of nature in the dance world.
Born in Moscow Natalia Osipova began training from the age of eight and when she graduated from the Moscow State Academy of Choreography she went straight into the corps of the Bolshoi Ballet, dancing principal roles from the age of 17. In 2012 she became Principal at American Ballet Theatre and joined the Royal Ballet as Principal in 2013. She has danced every lead role in the ballet repertoire; she interprets classical and contemporary roles with unforgettable dramatic sensibility and total commitment to her performances. Her thirst for pushing the boundaries of her craft has led her to collaborate with world-class contemporary choreographers. This unique commitment to contemporary dance so early in a stellar classical career leaves audiences and critics alike reaching for superlatives to describe her appetite for new artistic challenges. As dance critic and author Judith Mackrell says in the film, she is, absolutely FORCE OF NATURE NATALIA.
Directed by Gerald Fox
Produced by Justine Waddell, Alexandrina Markvo and Gerald Fox
Produced by Asterisk Films, Bird & Carrot and Foxy Films in association with Sky Arts
Edited by Miranda Watts
Camera Steve Haskett; Sound John Quinn
GERRY FOX – director of ‘FORCE OF NATURE NATALIA’
What inspired you to make a film about Natalia Osipova?
GERRY FOX: I'd seen Natalia perform a couple of times, at Covent Garden and at Sadler's Wells so when my two wonderful producers Justine Waddell and Sasha Markvo, who was working with Natalia on a new dance project, The Mother, approached me with the idea for a film about her, of course I jumped at it. Natalia is the most exciting dancer of her generation and the opportunity to make a portrait of her, someone who uniquely covers the whole gamut of dance, was irresistible.
What was the next step?
GERRY FOX: Exceptionally for an arts documentary it didn't take long to come to fruition! Sky Arts luckily leapt at it and it was then only a matter of working out a slot for it and the usual financing issues. It took a long time to film, however, because both we and Natalia were determined that the film should depict the full breadth of her range and talent from classical ballet with La Bayadère to dance theatre with The Mother to contemporary dance at Sadler’s Wells and this inevitably took a year to achieve.
There has been a slate of documentary films about dancers - what makes this film different?
GERRY FOX: It’s been a long time since anyone really focused in on a female dancer so I thought that was interesting too. We’ve had documentaries on Sergei Polunin, Carlos Acosta and Nureyev so isn’t it time to focus the spotlight on the great female dancer? I wanted to show the sheer determination, hard work and skill that being an artist of Natalia’s calibre demands.
What were the challenges of filming someone who is in constant demand worldwide?
GERRY FOX: It was pretty easy in one respect because Natalia was working on all different facets of her dance career in London over this year so that certainly made life simpler! But it was still incredibly challenging fitting interviews into her very busy schedule and getting the cameras into her rehearsals on all these very diverse, highly demanding productions. We were lucky this supremely hardworking dancer was so amenable!
What locations did you use?
GERRY FOX: The locations for the film really are rehearsal studios, great stages and dressing rooms. It's a very pure film that looks closely at what Natalia does best...dance! We filmed her rehearsing with the Royal Ballet for La Bayadère with Natalia Makarova and Medusa with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui at Covent Garden, in the wonderful old Limelight church/club and at Wayne McGregor’s studios at the 2012 Olympic Park with Arthur Pita for The Mother and various other contemporary dance spaces including Sadler's Wells.
What do you hope audiences will enjoy most about your film?
GERRY FOX: I hope audiences will just enjoy the sheer brilliance of Natalia's dancing in all its different attributes, styles and processes: from improvisation through rehearsal to glittering performance while also learning about her story of how she became a young dancer in Moscow and then with the Bolshoi before joining the Royal Ballet as one of its prima ballerinas. I hope they will enjoy watching what it really takes to stay on top of your game as a true force of nature!