Ballet has officially entered the 21st century. While more companies are using cinema or live-streaming to bring their performances to the masses, Dutch National Ballet has gone a step further. Last weekend, in a collaboration with &samhoud media and Chester Music, the company premiered its first virtual reality production. Night Fall, a dreamy ballet inspired by the white acts of Swan Lake and La Bayadère, was choreographed specifically for virtual reality by Peter Leung. Viewers are dropped right in the center of the action, with the dancers and a lone musician swirling around them.
The effect is goose bump-worthy: At one point, principal dancer Anna Tsygankova rushes right up to the camera—almost within arm’s reach—before she bourrées back into the darkness. Not only that, but the 360 degree camera allows you to have more than one, flat perspective. “The fact that [viewers] can look around and have some choice in what they look at will make it a unique experience,” says Leung in this behind-the-scenes video.
The downside? You need to wear a Samsung Gear VR headset or strap your smartphone to a Cardboard to get the full effect. But even without these devices, it’s fun to see where the future of ballet is going—especially if it means bringing in more audiences. For instructions on how to watch Night Fall, click here.