While presenting challenges of its own, Red Detachment of Women may have the power to redeem ballet in the eyes of those of us who have suffered through one too many performances of The Nutcracker. Instead of dancing tea leaves and sugarplum fairies, imagine pitched battles featuring severe, uniformed female dancers, all giving literal meaning to the term “bullet ballet”, with pliés that end in bayonettings and pirouettes that wind up to the hurling of grenades. All that alongside enough fruity, highly stylized scenes of terpsichorean hand-to-hand combat to make Chang Cheh wish he was born a woman.
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