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She Dances Alone (1981)

A drama documentary about the daughter of the Russian dancer Nijinsky. Along the way it sheds light on the woman, then 60 years old, who had tried to pursue her own career as a dancer, with... See full summary »



(screenplay) (as Jon Bradshaw),


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Credited cast:
Kyra Nijinsky ...
Patrick Dupond ...
Himself / Nijinsky (voice)
Sauncy LeSueur ...
Rosine Bena ...
Jeanette Etheridge ...
Franco DeAlto ...
Laura Hoover ...
Little Ballerina
Walter Kent ...
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A drama documentary about the daughter of the Russian dancer Nijinsky. Along the way it sheds light on the woman, then 60 years old, who had tried to pursue her own career as a dancer, with the problems and profits of such illustrious forbears. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

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Release Date:

18 February 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tek Basina Dansediyor  »

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A glimpse into the life of Nijinsky's daughter.
1 September 2003 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

This movie, I have read, originally began as a documentary about Vaslav Nijinsky, as seen through the eyes of his daughter, Kyra. Kyra, at the start of the film, was living, frugally, in a small apartment in San Francisco and was a reclusive lay nun, devoted to her religious convictions. She, it seems, was an enfant terrible, making the project as a straight documentary very straining. But in the process, director Robert Dornhelm decided to shift gears and take some of the footage he shot of his interviews with Kyra to turn it into a quasi-docudrama, with Bud Cort in the role of "the Director".

With this turn, the film focuses on Kyra's life, along with Kyra's memories of life with her famous father and mother, Romola. Kyra, as a subject, remains difficult to work with, as she is very independent-minded, and goes off on tangents, and stresses-out Cort's character as he tries to humor her to follow the lead of his directing. To try and do this, he employs the help of a young ballerina to evoke Kyra's true memories of her childhood, which we see, was very dysfunctional: dealing with her father's growing mental illness, of which we see, through her eccentric nature, she may have somewhat inherited, as well as her mother's moodiness and dominance of him. Her relationship with her mother was strained from childhood, as Kyra wanted to be a dancer. But to Romola, there could NOT be two Nijinsky's in the home, as she would never be as great as her father was. Much of the frustrated and thwarted dancer seems to have been a great part of her personality, as she takes advantage of as many opportunities to show off her skills as she can--even though she was a very overweight woman in her late 60's!

To enhance the film, Patrick Dupond dances Nijinsky's famous roles, and Max von Sydow reads from Nijinsky's diary.

I found this to be an interesting, and artsy, film-within-a-film. The dancing is very evocative of the great Nijinsky, and it is interesting to watch how Kyra instructs Dupond's movements in "Spectre de la Rose". The classical music selections are wonderful! Kyra, although frustrating to watch, is a worthy subject for the film; Dornhelm's direction is fine, and Bud Cort is enjoyable to watch, especially his interaction with the ballerina who plays the young Kyra, and with a very nice voice, he gets to sing the closing theme of the film.

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