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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 10 January 2009
We were given the VHS version of this when it first came out. Not only did WE find it a most engrosing, amazing, moving sequence of modern ballet with the very distinctive and catchy Penguin Cafe music, but SO DID OUR GRANDCHILDREN. They watched it and watched it until it died; the way VHS tapes were apt to do.
Highlights for us were the opening dances, the death of the zebra, the disgusting fashionable ladies, the morris-dancer's jolly bug and the poor rainforest people. But, really, the whole set of performances is wonderful throughout. We managed, after the first tape had destructed, to get a second VHS tape of it, but when these became astronomically priced, cult items we watched ours less frequently for fear of hastening its demise. Thank goodness it has been reissued on DVD. BUY IT NOW! YOU WON'T BE SORRY.
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on 25 February 2008
An excellent reminder of this brilliant and entertaining group of musicians and their inspired leader/composer. The superimposition of dance adds another dimension to the quality of the work.

Music from the Penguin Cafe lives on - and not only in the soundbites now used for soundtracks and commercial adverts. I regret there does not appear to be more film archive available of their sessions, to bring back the enthusiasm and subtlety of their live work.

For me a thoroughly enjoyable dvd, worthy of repeated viewing.
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on 11 June 2009
"Still Life" is an intriguing ballet itended to highlight pressures on habitat and wildlife - all the scenes relate to extinct and endangered animals. As a ballet it's enjoyable without being terribly profound - or, in balletic terms, very challenging. The DVD is a straightforward recording of the ballet - taken, I think, from a TV broadcast. I like it because they haven't tried to be too arty with the recording; the only thing that grates sligtly with me is the added sound effects in places, but they're not obtrusive or overdone. It's not a long ballet, so the DVD is filled out with background on the "Penguin cafe Orchestra"
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on 23 February 2014
This is THE most superb combination of music and movement!
Tho i'm not a total ballet enthusiast I found this DVD totally enthralling - the driving engaging Penguin cafe music is so infectious and upbeat alongside this wonderfully executed endangered species concept ballet. This is my second purchase of this DVD as gave the first one away - and then found I couldn't do without it!
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on 8 October 2013
A beautiful modern ballet based on the extinction, or near extinction, of species by man. The music is catchy and often very light-hearted, the dancing superb, the costumes great and the message very moving. Right at the start we are told how the extinction of the Great Auk came about. Later in the film a poignant, and terrifying, voice-over details how the final breeding pair of these birds, and the last Great Auk egg in the world, were casually and callously destroyed. If something doesn't happen to change things soon many other creatures are destined to follow suit and become extinct.
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on 28 October 2010
And not only my favourite ballet, but my favourite ballet by a country mile. It's in my top ten in any art form. Thing is, I'm not normally a great lover of ballet. But this is so good.

I first saw it back in 1988, when I recorded a screening on ITV (yes, ITV really did show ballet once in a while back in those days) and I've loved it ever since. Goodness only knows how many times I've seen that tape. I'm delighted to discover that it's now available on DVD for everyone to see.

I'd like to endorse the lady who said that children love this ballet. My children were still in nappies when they first watched it and they've seen it time and time again. I didn't mind a bit as I'm as happy to watch it as they are. I can't imagine a better introduction to dance than this for young people.

David Bintley's choreography is the wittiest and most inventive choreography I've seen. It goes without saying, I trust, that it's superbly performed by the Royal Ballet. Simon Jeffes' music is simply charming. I've just downloaded it on Amazon.

Best of all, it delivers its message about the protection of endangered species most powerfully. It somehow manages to pull off the trick of being both delightful and hard-hitting. Here is a ballet that can make a contribution to wider society. How often can this be said?

Ballet is all-too easily criticised for its elitism, irrelevance and inaccessibility to the general public. But if anyone should ever say such things to you, then show them this. This is the answer to such allegations.

I can't recommend it highly enough. I wish you happy viewing.
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on 26 June 2016
Not the finest piece by the royal ballet. Where was the great Auk the Dodo or the passenger pigeon. A short over-hyped work by a second rate composer. There were two outstanding dances by Sansom and Broomhead, but for the rest, I was not impressed.
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on 15 September 2015
I had a little part of this ballet on a VHS tape. Later on I put it on a DVD to keep it because I found those 5 minutes so very fascinating, but I didn't know what it was. Recently I stumbled on it just by accident on YouTube. I was so happy. And now I have it in good quality. Finally after so many years my quest is ended.
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on 18 April 2009
high quality recording of a fun interpretation of this ballet. almost better than seeing it live which I did the following week! and certainly cheaper - in gact half the price of a mid priced ticket.
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on 11 March 2013
I have not made a better purchase in a long time. Love the music and the costumes. The documentary with the live performances from jeffes and the PCO are the reason I got this and I can just watch them forever, beautiful and timeless. (aside from the very eighties shirts which are a bit dated.)
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