A unique event in the history of ballet takes place on October 1st – World Ballet Day Live – 20 hours of continuous online live streaming from the rehearsal rooms of five of the world’s greatest ballet companies. World Ballet Day Live is an extension of Royal Ballet Live, a nine-hour online event which took place in 2012, and which drew an audience of over 200,000 viewers to The Royal Ballet website on the day, and 2.5 million subsequent viewings of edited material on YouTube.
Taking part in this year’s event (in order of appearance) are The Australian Ballet, The Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and the San Francisco Ballet. Each company will be allocated a four-hour slot, beginning at 12 pm local time in Melbourne, then the broadcast will move to Moscow, London, Toronto and San Francisco, taking viewers on a behind-the-scenes visit to each of these companies, showing the reality of what takes place in the daily schedule of the dancers.
Footage will include the routine class with which dancers the world over begin their day, then move on to rehearsals of productions for the forthcoming season, highlighting the different styles of each company and how their approach to both choreography and presentation sets each one apart.
The successive segments of live streaming will be available on the website of each of the companies in real time, and afterwards the whole day’s streaming will be repeated on YouTube, enabling viewers around the world to catch up on any parts they missed. Edited highlights will subsequently be available to view. Members of the viewing public will be able to submit questions to members of the companies via Twitter, and responses will be provided during the broadcasts.
During this spectacular event, The Australian Ballet will be rehearsing Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake, Stanton Welch’s La Bayadère, Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker, and a world premiere by resident choreographer, Tim Harbour, entitled Ostinato which the Company will perform in New York City during its US tour in October. Artistic Director David McAllister will be on hand to answer questions.
The Bolshoi Ballet will be rehearsing a new ballet, The Taming of the Shrew, which the Company commissioned from Jean-Christophe Maillot, Director-Choreographer of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, a work which premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow this past July. The Company will also be seen preparing for Yuri Grigorovich’s 1961 ballet, A Legend of Love which returns to the Bolshoi Theatre Main Stage this season in a major revival, and, on 26 October, will be shown live in over 800 cinemas the world over.
From Covent Garden comes footage of The Royal Ballet’s preparation for Carlos Acosta’s production of Don Quixote, during which Acosta will be seen coaching Vadim Muntagirov in the role of Basilio. Marianela Nuñez and Federico Bonelli will be rehearsing for the Company’s forthcoming production of Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon – to be screened live in cinemas around the world on October 16th. Liam Scarlett will be preparing Laura Morera and Steven McRae for his new work, The Age of Anxiety, to be premiered in November, and the full Company will be rehearsing Christopher Wheeldon’s latest creation for them, the award-winning Aeternum, as well as Frederick Ashton’s Scènes de ballet. There will also be interviews with Wayne McGregor – talking about Woolf Works, his first full-length ballet for the Company – and Royal Ballet Director, Kevin O’Hare.
There’ll be further footage of Manon, from The National Ballet of Canada which will be seen rehearsing with Anthony Dowell, former Director of The Royal Ballet, who had the role of Des Grieux created on him 40 years ago. There will also be footage of the Company preparing for its forthcoming production of John Neumeier’s Nijinsky, a fascinating insight into the life of the legendary Russian dancer and choreographer, which Neumeier created for his own company, the Hamburg Ballet.
San Francisco Ballet will be rehearsing Yuri Possokhov’s RAkU – based on the burning of Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion in 1950, but set in an earlier period – William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, scenes from Helgi Tomasson and Possokhov’s Don Quixote and Tomasson’s Concerto Grosso. The footage will also include interviews with Principal Dancers Yuan Yuan Tan and Taras Domingo.
To watch this 20-hour online ballet spectacular as it unfolds live, viewers will need to log on to the websites of each of the participating companies at the appropriate starting time for their respective four-hour slots. The broadcast starts with The Australian Ballet’s segment at 12 noon (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on Wednesday October 1st (which could well be Tuesday September 30th for viewers in some countries), and concludes with the San Francisco Ballet’s segment which begins at 11.00 am (Pacific Daylight Time) on October 1st.
Bearing in mind the different time zones in which each of the companies will be operating, viewers will need to ascertain the time of each broadcast relevant to their own time zone, presenting something of a logistical challenge! Do remember, though, that YouTube will be repeating the entire 20-hour broadcast and that edited highlights will subsequently be available on YouTube as well.