A profusion of movies focusing on history, process and performance begins unspooling Friday at Lincoln Center. The best ones, like “Finding Billy” (which details the hunt for stars for “Billy Elliot,” the musical), move you to tears and get your adrenaline flowing.
A process film, “Going Somewhere,” features Wayne McGregor, the cyborg-like resident choreographer at the Royal Ballet who also directs his own Random Dance. Teaching high-schoolers, rehearsing ballet stars or conferring with scientists, he unveils aspects of the artist’s life.
Most selections are documentaries, with talking heads and clips of performance. “Check Your Body at the Door,” 20 years in the making by producer Sally Sommer and director Charles Atlas, pokes its camera into clubs, focusing on the people who make this social scene the center of their lives. “Never Stand Still” details the history and development of the venerable Jacob’s Pillow dance festival.
“Joffrey Ballet: Mavericks of American Dance” does the same for the Joffrey, tracking its trajectory over more than half a century.
“Balanchine in Paris” documents aging French ballerinas transmitting the Balanchine mystique to young dancers. “The Space in Back of You” peers into the mind and slo-mo methods of Robert Wilson.
There’s also drama: Wendy Whelan lights up “Labyrinth Within,” a mysterious drama by Pontus Lidberg, while two anxious men struggle in Clara van Gool’s “Coup de Grace.”