Paris Opéra Ballet’s Newest Stage

Foyer de la danse I. Photo by Pierre Even via Paris Opéra

What do Netflix and the Paris Opéra have in common? Like the popular streaming service that enables our binge watching addiction, the Paris Opéra has released a series of videos all at once as part of 3e Scène, “Third Stage,” a project initiated by POB’s daring new director Benjamin Millepied. In the 17 videos released thus far, we can see POB dancers rehearsing in studios and drinking on rooftops, a cross-dressing Giselle, a Disney animator transforming a ballerina into a whimsical cartoon—and the vast spaces of the famous Palais Garnier, which appears like a character itself throughout the artfully packaged mini-films.

On the heels of last week’s second annual World Ballet Day, I’m marveling that ballet—an art form born in royal palaces and nurtured in grand theaters—is using digital platforms to become something that it couldn’t be before: widely accessible. With directors like Millepied, ballet won’t languish in gilded, velvet-lined cages with dwindling audiences. It will be streamed on laptops, viewed on iPhones, surreptitiously opened in browsers at office desks. It will become ubiquitous and, if the delightful films of 3e Scène are any indication, better for it.

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