SXSW Film '10 — NY Export: Opus Jazz

In the late ‘50s, Jarome Robbins, famous for creating West Side Story, took the music of Robert Prince and choreographed a ballet that celebrated and spotlighted the youth of New York City. Now, the ballet has been revisited as a film shot on-location throughout the streets of the Big Apple and using dancers from the New York City Ballet.

Part West Side Story, part Gap commercial, NY Export: Opus Jazz is a beautiful and fascinating spotlight on dance and the city. A jazz beat accompanies a sharp vision from the filmmakers, highlighting the dancers and showcasing their skills without boring those audience members who may not go gaga over choreography. Besides showcasing some true talent from amazing young dancers, the film is just plain shot beautifully. The whole thing is mesmerizing.

What’s interesting, and highly watchable about the film, is the loose story of disenfranchised youth and untargeted rebellion that drives plot through the dances, showing the youth as they prepare for a final performance in a dingy auditorium.

The film, while surely not everybody’s cup of tea, is nonetheless an entertaining way to spend an hour. A short documentary feature accompanies the film, explaining some of the history behind the ballet and interviewing the dancers as they prepare to breathe new life into Robbins’ work.

If you are a fan of dance or just want to watch some amazing performers do extraordinary things with their bodies, make sure you catch NY Export: Opus Jazz, either at SXSW or on PBS when it premieres as part of the Great Performances series later this year.

Category: Emerging Visions
Director: Jody Lee Lipes & Henry Joost, Anna Farrell & Matt Wolf
Showtimes: Saturday, March 13 at 6:45 PM at Alamo Ritz, Tuesday March 16 at 3:45 PM at Alamo Ritz and Saturday, March 20 at 7 PM at Alamo Ritz

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The South by Southwest film festival will be held in Austin from March 12 through the 20th. For more information about attending the festival and the films being shown, visit

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