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Etoiles: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet (2001)
"Tout près des étoiles: Les danseurs de l'Opéra de Paris" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 141 users   Metascore: 68/100
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Title: Etoiles: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet (2001)

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Credited cast:
Aurélie Dupont ...
Les Étoiles
Laurent Hilaire ...
Les Étoiles
Nicolas Le Riche ...
Les Étoiles
Manuel Legris ...
Les Étoiles
José Martinez ...
Les Étoiles
Elisabeth Platel ...
Les Étoiles
Jean-Guillaume Bart ...
Les Premiers Danseurs
Marie-Agnès Gillot ...
Les Premiers Danseurs
Clairemarie Osta ...
Les Premiers Danseurs
Nathalie Riqué ...
Les Premiers Danseurs
Wilfried Romoli ...
Les Premiers Danseurs
Céline Talon ...
Les Premiers Danseurs
Miteki Kudo ...
Corps de Ballet (Sujet)
Sylvain Durand ...
Les Pianistes de cours
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Claude Bessy ...
La Directrice de l'École de Danse


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Documentary | Music


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Official Sites:



Release Date:

14 March 2001 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Etoiles: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,048 (USA) (22 November 2002)


$45,500 (USA) (5 September 2003)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


Doux Mensonges
(Choréographie de Jirí Kylian)
Music by Carlo Gesualdo, Claudio Monteverdi, madrigaux, chant géorgien
Performed by Les Arts Florissants with Rebecca Ockenden, Stéphanie d'Oustrac,
Marijana Mijanovic, Ryland Angel, Éric Raffard, Michael Loughlin-Smith,
, Bertrand Chuberre, Arnaud Marzorati, Sophie Decaudaveine
Conducted by William Christie
Assistant conductor: Kenneth Weiss
avec l'aimable autoriation des Arts Florissants
See more »

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User Reviews

Passion and total commitment required in being a dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet
10 February 2004 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

There were quite a number of documentaries I saw in 2003, "Etoiles: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet" (aka "Tout près des étoiles") is one of the unforgettable ones. A documentary dedicated to the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet is a labor of love from filmmaker Nils Tavernier, who followed the company for 3 months in 1999, including their Tokyo performances. We were given an insider's look of what goes on behind the curtains, at rehearsals, studio practices, students at the Nanterre school, and many insightful interviews. It was fascinating listening to the responses and comments just from the casual, on the spot interviews, be it one on one or in groups. The subtitles by Lenny Borger and Cynthia Schoch facilitated remarkable understanding of the world of these ballet dancers.

A woman dancer: "The word love is not strong enough for dancing. Dance is more than love. It is something that devours you." A young male dancer: "The stage is a drug. Every time (even though I'm not happy with how I danced, and have fear before going on stage)…I wanted to go back on." A dance teacher: "The weeks and months…all the effort of many rehearsals for a few minutes on stage. It's insane. You can't put a prize on it."

"What rank are you?" Nils asked. "Quadrille. The lowest rank. But I dance a lot," a young ballerina happily replied while doing her makeup. To another dancer: "Which ballet are you in?" "I'm an understudy. I'm not dancing. I'm used to that," the lanky dancer walked away with a smile. "Yes, there's pain," a dancer nursing her foot said, "you forget a lot of things on stage. It [the pain] goes away."

These are just a handful of sample exchanges/scenes as we get to watch close to the stars (étoiles), be it premier danseur or danseuse, young quadrilles or 12 and 14 year old dance students, dance teachers who gave up their ballet shoes, or mother (father) dancers who wanted a child and family instead of a star career, and a prima ballerina's last performance as she retires at 40 ("men retire at 45"). It's 1 hr. 36 mins. well spent, especially for those who appreciate the ballet. What a compact yet comprehensive look into the everyday (stage) life of dancers at the Paris Opera Ballet company. There are excerpts from about seven ballet performances. The ballet music and selective film score match the thoughtfully edited together documentary, which is engrossing drama as good as any mainstream movie. "Etoiles: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet" is available on DVD.

Other memorable documentaries: Mark Moskowitz's "Stone Reader" (intriguing journal in locating an author of a book), Jeffrey Blitz's "Spellbound" (following eight 1999 National Spelling Bee teenage contestants), and Dana Brown's "Step Into Liquid" (surfing is another dedicated lifelong sport/adventure).

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