October 1st signifies a great many things. Perhaps to some it signifies the beginning of the holiday season, to others it may just signify that the rent is due. But to me, October 1st means one thing: #WorldBalletDay.
World Ballet Day had it's trial run last year and was so successful, it became an even bigger event this year. It's essentially a 24 hour live stream of a typical day in 5 of the greatest ballet companies around the world. Viewers can comment on the stream, ask questions, submit their own videos and images to be featured, and get a very inside, intimate look at the many facets of these large ballet companies and how they work.
The day begins with The Australia Ballet, then moves to The Bolshoi Ballet, followed by The Royal Ballet, then National Ballet of Canada, before finishing here on the west coast with San Francisco Ballet. Each company live streams their morning company class, various short interviews and featurettes, and rehearsals. This year, to expand their reach and broadcast, each of these five companies invited other nearby companies to use some of their "air time" to showcase their own dancers and daily practice. So additional companies like the Royal New Zealand Ballet, National Ballet of China, Nederlands Dans Theater, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet West were brought into the fold.
What I love about World Ballet Day is that it shows how ballet remains a truly globally connected and transcendental art form. There is a consistency to it across every company, in every country - Every class starts with a plié and ends in a reverence! And viewers all over the world get to see some of the greatest ballet dancers working today, most of which, they would never get the chance to see dance live otherwise!
I'm also just incredibly impressed with the quality of the broadcast. It's an enormous feat and while there are always a few technical bumps here and there, it's gone incredibly smoothly the last two years. In my opinion, it is a supremely perfect example of how ballet can use modern technology to really expose themselves to new audiences and in a whole new way. And it's so much fun! I guess I only wish I had the constitution to stay up through the night to watch it all!
This year's broadcast just ended, but you can re-watch the full 23 hours of ballet goodness soon (I'll be sure to post it when it's up.) In the meantime, here's the portions from the Australian Ballet and The Royal Ballet ...
Until next year, may I just say thank you #WorldBalletDay for uniting us all with company class!