Man Who Dances: Edward Villella

1968, 54 mins


Robert Drew

Producer - Director

Mike Jackson


Harry Moses

Associate Producer

Abbot Mills


Ernest Nukanen


Juliana Wang


Ralph Weisinger


Walter Helmuth


Dave Blumgart


Fred Bosch


Michael Scott


Don Morrow


Bill Hanson

Photographer Assistant

Jean Swain

Production Coordinator

Edward Villella


Patricia McBride



1969 National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Award

1968 CINE Golden Eagle

First Prize, 1967 International Cinema Exhibition, Bilboa, Spain

Gold Medal, 1969 Fifth International Dance & Ballet Film Festival

Silver Medal, 1969 Atlanta International Film Festival


"'Man Who Dances' is a magnificent film that presents not only spectacular ballet, but insight into what motivates Edward Villella as a man who has decided that the incredibly hard work and physical risk demands of a dancer are well worth facing."

Walter Terry, Saturday Review

"This film shows Edward Villella at a critical point in his career. His overloaded schedule -- rehearsals with Balanchine, lectures, dancing with Patricia McBride, etc. -- leads to a collapse during a performance. This documentary is a graphic example of the dedication that is required of a great dancer."

Dance Heritage Coalition

"The camera captures both his performance and his almost debilitating and excruciating pain off-stage between dances."

Oksana Dykyi, Educational Media Reviews Online

"The greatest dance film of the decade"

Walter Terry, Saturday Review

“Man Who Dances” enters the life of one of the greatest male dancers in history.

A primary dancer in the New York City Ballet, Edward Villella’s on-stage collapse signals the human limits of this seemingly indefatigable artist.

The film features breathtaking footage from Villella’s performances — both on and off the stage — and intimate interviews with the famed dancer as he deals with physical and mental exhaustion.

The collapse in an afternoon performance poses a grave question for the dancer. Should he or should he not go on stage that evening and risk the possibility of career-ending injury? “Man Who Dances” is structured around this crisis of decision in a performer’s life.

During the course of the film, Villella performs in concert with the New York City Ballet such George Balanchine works as the “Rubies,” section from “Jewels,” and pas de deux from “Glinkiana” and “Tarantella.”

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