Co-Produced by Donna Rubin, An Improbable Dream is a documentary film that looks back at a select group of dancers from Canada’s National Ballet School in 1981. The film has recently won 3 awards at the New York Festivals Worlds Best TV & Films 2017 Awards, including:

  • Gold World Medal – Best Direction
  • Gold World Medal – Performing Arts Special
  • Silver World Medal – Best Original Music/Lyrics

The film also won a Bronze Medal at the 2017 Telly Awards.

Donna Rubin is a co-founder and instructor at Bikram Yoga NYC and has been teaching the Bikram method for 18 years. Prior to life in yoga she was professional dancer, performing with the National Ballet of Canada in the role of Meg Giry in the original Canadian company of Phantom of the Opera and later made her Broadway debut in Carousel at Lincoln Center.

Donna’s career started at Canada’s National Ballet School in 1979. 37 years later, renowned Director Lionel Chetwynd took to directing “An Improbable Dream” which looks back at these formative years in Donna’s life.

Film Synopsis

An Improbable Dream is a no-host documentary that examines the lives, from the ages of 10 to mid-50s, of several members of the National Ballet School of Canada’s Class of 1981. Painstakingly reconstructing fragments of archival film and personal records, An Improbable Dream offers a panoramic view of the discipline and dedication required from a very early age if one is to fulfill the dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. The Class of 1981 included a broad cross-section of dancers, from those who would become world renowned, to those who would cut short their training. The documentary also examines the brevity of these athletes’ playing careers, offering a deeper understanding of the price exacted for the highest levels of success, be it as a dancer, hockey player, Olympic athlete – or any pursuit that requires the mythical “10,000 hours” of training.

Here at Bikram Yoga NYC we could not be more proud of Donna’s life accomplishments, including but not limited to these recent rewards. We caught up with Donna recently to ask about her schooling at the NBS and her involvement with this film. 

BYNYC: What made you decide to produce your own documentary 

DR: I found it strange that over the years when ever there was a school reunion practically none of my classmates wanted to go. I thought it would be interesting to have a heart to heart and see what everyone else’s experiences were. I was able to get a majority of my classmates to attend the 50th anniversary of the school in part because I told them I wanted to do a documentary. I was so happy to have my class mate Catherine agree to do the project with me and thankful that all of us were willing to share their stories. 

BYNYC: How long did it take to film? 

DR: We organized all the filming to be done over the course of the reunion weekend. We were scheduled to the t but it all worked out. Once we got to the point where CBC Canada bought it we actually did some additional filming to make the ending more current. 

BYNYC: Did making this film bring you and your classmates closer together? 

DR: The best part of making this film was being able to reconnect with all our classmates. We now live in many different cities but we are much more connected. The weekend was very healing for everyone. We got to speak about things that we were afraid to say when we were kids. We also found things out about each other that we never knew. It was as if no time had passed while sitting together and sharing our experiences.