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San Francisco Ballet in class during World Ballet Day 2016. Photo Courtesy SFB.

Here at Pointe, every day feels like World Ballet Day, though the official 2018 event took place on Tuesday. While WBD is a thrill for any bunhead, it can also be overwhelming. How are you supposed to sit in front of your computer all day when you have class and rehearsal and work and a life? We get it, and we're here to help.

To give you a chance to catch up, we've rounded up WBD videos from 26 companies. So grab some popcorn, a backlog of pointe shoes to sew, and settle in. If you start watching now, you might just be done in time for WBD 2019.

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Australian Ballet in rehearsal during World Ball Day. Photo by Kate Longely, Courtesy Australian Ballet.

For the last few years, World Ballet Day has transfixed millions of ballet lovers with its hours and hours of live-streamed classes, rehearsals and behind-the-scenes extras from major companies around the globe. (We here at Pointe certainly don't get any work done!) And the 2018 edition is finally here! Hosted by Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and The Royal Ballet, streaming begins on WBD's Facebook page in Melbourne on October 2. However, for folks in North America, that means 9pm EST/6pm PST on Monday, October 1. In past years, the National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet helped host the event, but they are not participating this time. Other U.S. and Canadian companies, however, will get time in the limelight this morning and this afternoon--check out the full schedule here.

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Natalie Magnicaballi and Michael Cook in "Meditation," the first ballet Balanchine created on Farrell. Photo by Teresa Wood, Courtesy The Suzanne Farrell Ballet.

Last fall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced that its resident company, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, would disband following its final performances December 7–9. A wholly unique endeavor, TSFB—of which I was a member for 10 years—would draw dancers from around the country together to work closely with Farrell, one of Balanchine's most celebrated muses. And while contracts were short on weeks, they were long on intensity and inspiration. According to the Kennedy Center, Farrell will transition into a resident teaching artist role as the Center expands its studio space and educational programs, although details are vague. In addition to Balanchine's Meditation (which is exclusive to TSFB), the final program includes Tzigane, Serenade, Chaconne and the rarely seen Gounod Symphony, which the company reconstructed in 2016. I spoke with my former director about her final season, and her reflections on her company.

What has been the most rewarding part of directing your company?

One reason why I thought a company was necessary was that I had been staging Mr. B's ballets all over the world, and that's nice, but you only see the first performance. You don't know how it's going to grow or what future it has. I believed I could do better work if I had my own dancers—that's the atmosphere I grew up in. You can go back to those ballets and become better and discover new things about them.

Another reward is being able to learn all of the parts instead of just my own. I had rarely seen many of these ballets because I was dancing in them. There are multiple layers beyond your own part and they're all connected. Having performed them and having been in the studio when they were created gave me an incredible insight and knowledge about the entire "world" of that ballet, because I was there when it was being born.


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Ballet Careers
Members of San Francisco Ballet in company class as part of World Ballet Day LIVE 2017. Photo by Erik Tomasson via San Francisco Ballet on Instagram.

Last Thursday was World Ballet Day LIVE, the official 22-hour live-stream relay showcasing companies across the globe. If you were busy (we know that you don't always have the luxury to spend an entire day watching ballet), don't fret. Many of the companies involved recorded their classes, rehearsals and interviews from the day of, and we rounded them up for you to watch at your leisure. Careful, though; there are more than twenty hours of footage included here... make sure you take a break to, you know, sleep.


First up is San Francisco Ballet with a full five hours, including rehearsal for Balanchine's timeless classic, Serenade.


The Royal Ballet's WBD stream is split into three parts. Here's the first chunk, featuring company rehearsals of a few Sir Kenneth MacMillan ballets as well as Christopher Wheeldon's Alice in Wonderland (a measly two hours and 45 minutes). You can find part 2 here and the full company class here. The video also features a quick aerial tour of London from the balcony of the Royal Opera House.

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Ballet Stars
World Ballet Day camera crew at The Australian Ballet. Photo by Kate Longley, Courtesy The Australian Ballet.

For some of us, every day feels like World Ballet Day LIVE. But the official event takes place on Thursday, October 5, with a free 22-hour live-stream relay showcasing The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet. Each will welcome the world into company classes, rehearsals and behind-the-scenes extras.


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Photo by Emily Gan, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada

If everyone in your ballet class has called out sick on October 5, there's a perfectly good explanation: that's when World Ballet Day LIVE is scheduled to return. In other words, 24 hours of binge-worthy behind-the-scenes footage featuring five of the world's leading ballet companies. Tune in to Facebook Live to watch as The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet take you inside the studio for classes, rehearsals and interviews with your favorite dancers. Details have yet to be released, but we'll be sure to keep you in the loop! In the meantime, mark your calendars, and enjoy some of San Francisco Ballet's highlights from last year's event.


As if you needed another excuse to binge-watch ballet, World Ballet Day LIVE returns for its third consecutive year of live streaming on October 4. The global behind-the-scenes event features some of the world’s top companies, and seems to grow bigger each year. This year, a South American company, Ballet Nacional Sodre, will be featured for the first time! Highlights include The Australian Ballet, The Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet, with appearances by dozens of other companies. Look out for your favorite dancers from Hong Kong Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, Miami City Ballet and more.

(National Ballet of Canada in class, photo by Emily Gan, courtesy NBoC)

Viewers can expect interviews, company class and a peek at rehearsals, including National Ballet of Canada's Cinderella and Onegin.

Check out the World Ballet Day website for a breakdown of how and when to watch each company, and join in with YouTube’s live chat feature, which lets balletomanes from around the world connect during the stream.

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.

The National Ballet of Canada in rehearsal (photo by Karolina Kuras)

 

World Ballet Day will happen once again on October 1. The Bolshoi Ballet, The Australian Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet will join forces for 18 hours of non-stop behind-the-scenes footage from around the world. 

It's no surprise that the event is back, considering its smashing success last year—it was trending on Twitter all day, and thousands of people watched the stream on YouTube.

This year, the event will include even more companies: 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 Northwestern Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet and Scottish Ballet will all participate. Those companies will show pre-recorded footage rather than a live stream.

The Australian Ballet will show class and rehearsals for The Sleeping Beauty, among others. The Bolshoi will show class and rehearsals for its 240th season. I'm especially excited to see The Royal Ballet's rehearsals of Romeo and Juliet and the National Ballet of Canada's rehearsals of The Winter's Tale. Both companies will also show morning class. San Francisco Ballet will show class and rehearsals and will feature an interview with choreographer William Forsythe.

For those of us in the United States, the time zones are a bit confusing. The stream starts with The Australian Ballet in Melbourne at 19:00 PDT (that's Pacific Day Time) on September 30. Use this handy time zone converter to determine when you should start watching the live stream.

Click here for more information about programming as it's released!

Have you heard? The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and National Ballet of Canada are teaming up for a truly epic day of behind-the-scenes access. October 1st is World Ballet Day. 

Starting at 12:00pm local time in Melbourne, the Australian Ballet will begin live-streaming their company class and rehearsals on YouTube. The live stream will eventually move around the globe and across time-zones, next visiting the Bolshoi and eventually ending with San Francisco Ballet. Each company will also stream their segment on their own website. In addition to offering an unprecedented look into the working lives of some of the world's most amazing dancers, the program will allow viewers to ask questions of each company throughout the day. If you can't watch everything in real time, the full program will be available afterward on YouTube.

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