Yelena Demikovsky’s short documentary film “Happy to Be So…” is an affectionate chronicle of the lives of two world-renowned ballet performers. Mireille Briane and Oleg Briansky met in Paris over 50 years ago and have been together ever since, sharing their love for ballet with audiences and students alike as their way to express their love for each other, as well as for the art form that originally brought them together. Following an early retirement in 1963 (brought on by an injury to Briansky), the couple relocated to upstate New York and founded the Briansky Saratoga Ballet School, which quickly became one of the world’s top ballet academies.
More hagiography than biography, Demikovsky portrays the life-long lovers in a golden light that doesn’t allow any truly edifying details to filter through to the audience. However, the banter between Briane and Oleg is never dull and the viewer is still able to see what has kept them together (in both life and work) over the course of the last 50-plus years. Demikovsky’s film also features great archival footage from the ’50s and ’60s that show Briansky in his prime, when he was referred to as “the most sought after male dancer in the world” by Ballet magazine. This footage alone makes this short-subject doc worth tracking down.