Steps of the Ballet

About the film

The first half of Steps of the Ballet demonstrates various ballet steps, and the process of staging a show. The second half is a short ballet showcasing these techniques.

Download this film


  • Release year - 1948
  • Director - Muir Mathieson
  • Production company - Crown Film Unit
  • Producer - Alexander Shaw
  • Cinematographer - A.E. Jeakins
  • Composer - Arthur Benjamin
  • Narration - Robert Helpmann
  • Editor - Jocelyn Jackson
  • Sound recording - F.C. Arnaud
  • Performers - Gerd Larsen, Alexander Grant, Gordon Hamilton, Elaine Fifield, Michael Boulton, Michael Bayston, Jeanne Artois, Peter Wright, Moyra Fraser, Leila Russell
  • Choreography by - Andrée Howard
  • Decor and Costume - Hugh Stevenson
  • Art Director - Scott MacGregor
  • Unit Manager - Tina Peters
  • Assistant Director - Leon Clore
  • Camera Operators - Ken Reeves, Noel Rowland
  • Continuity - Pamela Turle
  • Scenery Painted by - Edward Delany
  • Production Manager - Henry Geddes
  • Ballet Mistress - Joan Harris
  • Music Played by - Philharmonia Orchestra of London
  • Music Recorded by - Ken Cameron
  • Running time (minutes)24 mins 07 secs

Original description

'This films deals with the creation of a ballet. The basic positions, movements and steps are demonstrated. The dancers' steps are explained by Robert Helpmann, famous ballet dancer and choreographer. The film ends with the presentation of a new ballet to show how the arts of dancing, music and painting join together in its creation.'

(Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1948)

Did you know?

  • Both Robert Helpmann and Peter Wright would go on to receive knighthoods after Steps of the Ballet was made; Helpmann in 1968 and Wright in 1993.
  • Sir Peter Wright was Artistic Director of the Sadler Wells Ballet when it moved to Birmingham and became the Birmingham Royal Ballet. He was appointed Honorary Director Laureate upon his retirement in 1999, and is still active in the ballet world, producing a version of the Nutcracker in December 2011.

All films are subject to the Creative Commons licence guidelines.

Learn more about how to use to the film archive.

You might also be interested in:

About the film archive

Learn about the history behind our documentary film archive from the 1940s.

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest updates and advice on applications, scholarships, visas and events.