Following last year’s unprecedented collaboration for the first World Ballet Day LIVE, five of the world’s leading ballet companies will once again stream 23 hours of live, behind-the-scenes footage on Thursday, October 1. The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet have partnered to provide viewers around the world with an inside look at professional ballet companies in the studio, on tour, and in performance. For more information, visit worldballetday.com.
Each company will introduce viewers to a variety of experiences from technique classes and rehearsals to backstage preparations. World Ballet Day LIVE will be a celebration of dance and an opportunity for audiences to see what it takes to be one of the world’s top companies and get an inside look at the athleticism and dedication required for a life in ballet.
This year, World Ballet Day LIVE will include pre-recorded footage from a wide range of regional dance organizations geographically close to the five participating companies. Confirmed companies as of this press date include American Ballet Theatre, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Boston Ballet, English National Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, Houston Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, National Ballet of China, Nederlands Dans Theater, Northern Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, and Scottish Ballet.
The Australian Ballet once again kicks off World Ballet Day LIVE from its headquarters in Melbourne, Australia. This presentation includes a day in the life of the company, from the universal ritual of daily class, to rehearsals of Artistic Director David McAllister’s brand new production of The Sleeping Beauty and four other productions that will tour to China later that month. In addition, viewers will go behind the scenes to learn about The Australian Ballet School, the company’s audience engagement programs, ballet philanthropy, the magical wardrobe department, and a sneak preview of a new ballet for children. Joining The Australian Ballet for guest spots throughout the program will be esteemed fellow dance companies Bangarra Dance Theatre, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and the National Ballet of China.
The Bolshoi Ballet will present the company in their daily routine with highlights of their 240th season. The day will begin with a live stream of morning class, followed by a report on two world premieres from last season—Radu Poklitaru’s Hamlet and Yuri Possokhov’s Hero of Our Time—as well as special projects which were announced during the first World Ballet Day LIVE last year. The Bolshoi’s program will also take viewers into the studio for live rehearsals and a comprehensive overview of the upcoming 240th season featuring world premieres, revivals, special projects, festivals, international tours, guest company presentations on the Bolshoi Theatre stages, and a gala dedicated to the memory of Maya Plisetskaya. Through interviews with Vladimir Urin, Sergei Filin, Yuri Possokhov, Boris Akimov, Brigitte Lefevre, Azarii Plisetski, and more, this programming will underscore the Bolshoi Theatre’s position as the nucleus of all things dance.
The Royal Ballet will air exclusive backstage footage from across the Covent Garden building. As well as showing segments of morning class live, filming will follow the preparation and off-stage action from a matinee performance of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet featuring Federico Bonelli and Lauren Cuthbertson. Rehearsals for the world premiere of Carlos Acosta’s Carmen which opens in October will be broadcast alongside exclusive footage of Royal Ballet Principals preparing for highlights from the 2015-2016 Season. A portion of the program will be dedicated to a discussion of the future of ballet in the U.K., with Royal Ballet Director Kevin O’Hare and Directors from Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, and Scottish Ballet.
Next, audiences will see The National Ballet of Canada on tour at the Place des Arts in Montréal, Québec. The five-hour block begins with company class followed by a rehearsal of Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale, based on the Shakespeare play, which makes its North American premiere in Toronto in November. The National Ballet of Canada will then take viewers behind the scenes at a dress rehearsal of William Forsythe’s the second detail, Marco Goecke’s Spectre de la Rose, and Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, focusing on how ballet companies prepare for performances while on tour.
San Francisco Ballet will stream company class and rehearsals of the works the company is preparing for the 2016 Repertory Season and a fall tour to China. The broadcast will also feature live interviews with Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson and The Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett about his Frankenstein, a co-production with The Royal Ballet which SF Ballet will perform during its 2017 Repertory Season. Choreographer William Forsythe will share his perspective on SF Ballet and the upcoming presentation of his Pas/Parts, a North American premiere that debuts as part of the SF Ballet’s 2016 Repertory Season.
Dance Anywhere Contest
Viewers are invited to submit a video or photograph of themselves dancing in front of regional landmarks, using #WorldBalletDay and featuring the title card available at worldballetday.com. Content posted to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram prior to October 1 may be shared during the live segments.
About World Ballet Day LIVE
The first World Ballet Day LIVE was held on October 1, 2014. The live broadcast attracted a total of 502,823 views from dance lovers around the world who watched for an average of 27 minutes. Allowing unparalleled, behind-the-scenes access, the streaming project revealed each company’s approach to company class and rehearsals, illustrating the unique personalities that characterize five world-class companies. As the first event of its kind, the 20-hour streaming project garnered critical and viewer acclaim with the New York Times declaring it an “unprecedented bout of internationalism” and the Toronto Star calling it a “milestone event.” World Ballet Day LIVE was inspired by Royal Ballet Live in 2012, a nine-hour live streaming via YouTube and The Guardian website.
(Times are indicated in Pacific Daylight Time.)
7:00pm-12:00am The Australian Ballet
12:00-3:00am Bolshoi Ballet
3:00-8:00am The Royal Ballet
8:00am-1:00pm The National Ballet of Canada
1:00-6:00pm San Francisco Ballet
The Australian Ballet
The Australian Ballet is one of the world’s leading ballet companies and has been delivering extraordinary performances for over 50 years. A commitment to excellence, a spirited attack, and a willingness to take risks have defined the company from its earliest days, both onstage and off. In addition to 70 acclaimed dancers, the company employs leaders in injury prevention, marketing, music, digital, and education to present upwards of 250 shows and 1,000 audience engagement events each year. A network of elite artisans work tirelessly behind the scenes to create the splendor seen on stage; the costumes are made with the care given to couture. Moving effortlessly between the great classical ballets and new contemporary commissions, the company has a unique Australian beauty, powered by athleticism. As it embarks on a new five-year strategic plan, The Australian Ballet is poised to reach more audiences than ever before, both at home and overseas.
The Bolshoi Ballet is about to open its 240th season. One of the oldest and largest ballet companies in the world, the Bolshoi combines its great classical tradition with a fresh approach. The Bolshoi Ballet is renowned for its unique style characterized by true virtuosity and incredible stage presence, and it celebrates an illustrious history with legends such as Galina Ulanova, Vladimir Vassiliev, Maya Plisetskaya, and Ekaterina Maximova. The Bolshoi Ballet was also the first company to stage Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Minkus’ Don Quixote. Much of the Bolshoi’s legacy can be attributed to Yuri Grigorovitch who was the artistic director for more than 30 years. Now in the 21st century, the Bolshoi constantly expands its repertoire with new works such as The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, and Hero of Our Time. Today’s Bolshoi artists Svetlana Zakharova, Maria Alexandrova, Ekaterina Krysanova, Vladislav Lantratov, Artem Ovcharenko, Semion Tchudin, Denis Rod'kin, and others—coached by Liudmila Semeniaka, Marina Kondratieva, Svetlana Adyrchayeva, Nikolai Fadeechev, Boris Akimov, Alexandr Vetrov, and more—ensure that the Bolshoi’s standards are held as high as ever.
The Royal Ballet
Based at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, The Royal Ballet is Great Britain’s most prestigious ballet company and one of the great classical ballet companies of the world. Led by Director Kevin O’Hare, the Company has a wide-ranging repertory that showcases the great 19th-century classics alongside heritage works including those of its two great 20th-century choreographers Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. In addition, The Royal Ballet performs new works by Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon, two of the foremost international choreographers of today. The Royal Ballet continues to create and encourage new choreography and appointed Liam Scarlett as Artist in Residence in 2012.
The National Ballet of Canada
One of the top international ballet companies, The National Ballet of Canada was founded in 1951 by Celia Franca. A company of 70 dancers with its own orchestra, The National Ballet of Canada has been led by Artistic Director Karen Kain, one of the greatest ballerinas of her generation, since 2005. Renowned for its diverse repertoire, the company performs traditional full-length classics, embraces contemporary work, and encourages the creation of new ballets as well as the development of Canadian choreographers. The company’s repertoire includes works by Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Rudolf Nureyev, Glen Tetley, John Neumeier, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, Jiri Kylian, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Crystal Pite, and Aszure Barton. The National Ballet has toured in Canada, the U.S., and internationally with recent appearances at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, England, The Music Center in Los Angeles, and Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater in New York City.
San Francisco Ballet
As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of San Francisco Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience in its community and around the globe and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Tomasson’s tenure as artistic director of San Francisco Ballet. For more information, visit sfballet.org.