Such was the success of last year’s World Ballet Day LIVE, that the five major ballet companies who threw open their practice and rehearsal rooms to a worldwide online audience in 2014, are doing it all again this year – presenting World Ballet Day LIVE 2015 on October 1.
Once again, there’ll be 23 hours of continuous live broadcasting, during which each of the participating companies – the Australian Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet – will take online viewers behind the scenes to see what life is really like in a professional ballet company.
The opening of each segment will show the class with which dancers the world over start their working days, then move into rehearsal sessions, following which there’ll be video clips from performances, previews of works which will feature in the forthcoming seasons, and interviews with leading figures from each company.
And this year, the featured ballet companies will be casting their net even wider, too, with the inclusion of pre-recorded footage from a selection of dance organizations which are either geographically close to each of them, or with which they have close links.
World Ballet Day LIVE starts in the studios of the Australian Ballet, a company which comprises an international mix of dancers and teachers, with a repertoire of classical and contemporary works from Australian and international choreographers, both past and present.
Following the Company class, there’ll be a rehearsal of scenes from Artistic Director David McAllister’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty. We’ll also take a look at the Australian Ballet School and the Audience Engagement Programs, learn something about ballet philanthropy, pay a fascinating visit to the wardrobe department, and see a sneak preview of a new ballet for children.
The Australian Ballet segment of the program will also include footage recorded by the Bangarra Dance Theatre, the National Ballet of China, and the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
The Bolshoi Ballet – one of the oldest and largest ballet companies in the world – was the first company to stage Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Minkus’ Don Quixote. Renowned for the artistry and technical brilliance of its dancers, as well as for its unique style in the great classical tradition, the Bolshoi boasts a history studded with some of the greatest names in ballet – Galina Ulanova, Vladimir Vassiliev, Maya Plisetskaya, Ekaterina Maximova – and Yuri Grigorovich, artistic director for more than 30 years. The Bolshoi’s current repertoire features both traditional and newer works, the latter including The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet and Hero of Our Time.
The broadcast includes footage taken from recent productions of Hamlet and Hero of Our Time, and there are previews of the Company’s forthcoming season – its 240th – which includes world premieres, revivals, special projects, festivals, international tours, and a gala dedicated to the memory of Maya Plisetskaya who died earlier this year. Amongst those to be interviewed are Director Vladimir Urin, Artistic Director Sergei Filin, Yuri Possokhov, Boris Akimov, Brigitte Lefevre and Azarii Plisetski.
Guest companies to be featured during the Bolshoi segment include Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo – whose Artistic Director, Jean-Christophe Maillot, was commissioned to choreograph The Taming of the Shrew for the Bolshoi – Hamburg Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater and Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre.
Recognized as one of the great ballet companies of the world, The Royal Ballet was founded by Dame Ninette de Valois, who in 1931 assembled a small group of dancers which was initially known as the Vic-Wells Ballet. In 1939, this company became the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, which in 1946 took up residence at the Royal Opera House, and in 1956, was granted a Royal Charter by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Now led by Director Kevin O’Hare, The Royal Ballet has a wide-ranging repertoire which includes the great 19th century classics, works by the Company’s legendary 20th century choreographers – Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan – as well as works by two of today’s foremost international choreographers – Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon – and by Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett.
During World Ballet Day LIVE, The Royal Ballet will be seen rehearsing productions from its forthcoming season – including Wayne McGregor’s Raven Girl, Ashton’s The Two Pigeons, Czardas by Company Principal Steven McRae, Liam Scarlett’s Viscera and a new version of Carmen by Principal Guest Artist Carlos Acosta. We’ll be taken behind the scenes of a matinée performance of MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, and all four Directors of The Royal Ballet’s UK partner companies – Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet and Scottish Ballet – will take part in a discussion of the future of ballet in the United Kingdom.
The National Ballet of Canada – founded in 1951 by Celia Franca, and led by Artistic Director, Karen Kain – boasts a repertoire which includes full-length traditional classics, works by legendary names such as Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko and Rudolf Nureyev, as well as by leading choreographers of the day such as Glen Tetley, John Neumeier, William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky and Christopher Wheeldon.
The broadcast will take us to a rehearsal of Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale, and behind the scenes at the Place des Arts in Montréal – where the Company is currently performing as part of its fall tour – to watch dress rehearsals of Marco Goecke’s re-imagination of Michel Fokine’s Spectre de la Rose and Wayne McGregor’s Chroma. We’ll also see Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale in rehearsal, and there’ll be interviews with Karen Kain, with Principal Dancer Greta Hodgkinson and with Company dancers.
The special guest companies to be featured are American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet and Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal.
San Francisco Ballet is America’s oldest professional ballet company. Founded in 1933, the Company includes in its archive of premieres the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th century American production of Coppélia. One of the three largest companies in the United States, it has – during the 30-year tenure of artistic director Helgi Tomasson – achieved an international reputation as one of the world’s foremost ballet companies.
The World Ballet Day LIVE broadcast will feature behind the scenes footage and highlights from the Company’s forthcoming repertory season, and its tour to China – including Tomasson’s full-length production of Giselle, Liam Scarlett’s Hummingbird, Wheeldon’s Rush, Balanchine’s Theme & Variations, and a world premiere by Scarlett of Fearful Symmetries set to a score by Bay Area composer, John Adams. It will also include footage from the Company’s recent screening of Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet which opened the Lincoln Center at the Movies series, and the Dance in Schools and Communities Program.
There’ll be interviews with Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson on the 2016 season and tour to China; with Liam Scarlett on his two new works – Fearful Symmetries and Frankenstein (a co-production of San Francisco Ballet and The Royal Ballet), and with Associate Choreographer of the Paris Opera Ballet, William Forsythe, on remounting his work entitled Pas/Parts.
There’ll also be pre-recorded footage from special guest companies Houston Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet.
World Ballet Day LIVE begins at 7.00 pm on September 30, Pacific Day Time (-9 GMT). To find out what time the broadcast begins in your area, use this timezone convertor, and to find out more details of what each company will be broadcasting, visit http://worldballetday.com/program/.
You can watch World Ballet Day LIVE on http://worldballetday.com or select one of the host companies’ YouTube channels (see below). All five companies will be broadcasting the entire 23 hour event.
The Australian Ballet’s YouTube Channel
The Bolshoi Ballet’s YouTube Channel
The Royal Ballet’s YouTube Channel
The National Ballet of Canada’s YouTube Channel
The San Francisco Ballet’s YouTube Channel