Interview with Daniel Herzog: Moscow Ballet’s Filmmaker

Oct 16, 2020


October 16, 2020
Moscow Ballet is dedicated to keeping the Christmas tradition alive by giving families the opportunity to stream the Great Russian Nutcracker from the comfort of their homes. Creative director/filmmaker Daniel Herzog was given the daunting task of creating a seamless screen version of Moscow Ballet’s holiday classic. Here’s a behind the scenes interview with the man behind the camera in his quest to capture ballet magic.
1. How long have you been with the Moscow Ballet? What was your background prior to working with MB?
I have been working with Moscow Ballet since 2007. Prior to working with MB, I was a college student studying Film and Journalism at Central Connecticut State University. I had been producing small commercials and music videos prior to working with Moscow Ballet.

2. What directors influence your filming style?
There are almost too many directors to name! If we’re talking about the film version of the Great Russian Nutcracker, I would say Darren Aronofsky, Michael Mann, and Werner Herzog’s (no relation)-style of hand-held filmmaking were major influences. When Aronofsky released Black Swan, that was the first time that I said to myself, “that’s how ballet should be filmed.”

3. How does the film version of the Great Russian Nutcracker differ from the stage version?
Although you can’t replace the energy of live theater, there are huge advantages to watching the film of the Great Russian Nutcracker. The audience will learn about the inception of Moscow Ballet and how children are incorporated into the cast to enhance the experience. You’ll also have exclusive access to interviews with the principle artists, the Russian Ballet Master, and more!

4. What was your intention behind filming and editing the Great Russian Nutcracker?
My intention was to give people a sneak peak into the world of ballet. I’ve always been somebody that was more interested in how films were made than the actual film itself. People don’t get to see how much work is involved with building the show and how much work the dancers and crew put in everyday.

5. What are the pros to watching the experience from home?
You can wear your pajamas 🙂

6. Did you encounter any unexpected challenges?
I’d say the biggest challenge was choosing which footage to use! I have a library of over 10 years of interviews, live performances, backstage, etc.

7. Do you think the pandemic will change the way we view dance? Are streaming performances here to stay?
I think right now there are many challenges dealing with the pandemic. From what I’ve been seeing in all mediums is that people are thinking outside the box and being creative. I think things like live performances are best seen live, but as technology evolves and peoples’ home viewing experience changes, there are more possibilities. VR is gaining more momentum and the technology behind it is advancing at such a high rate that I think it will change how people take in visual content.

(In addition to his work for Moscow Ballet, Daniel Herzog is coming out with a new series about the art and design of craft breweries called “Art of the Can.” To learn more about Dan his work, check out

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